Plymouth council approves water, sewer rate increases

Shawn McGrath
Staff Writer

The Plymouth Common Council approved raising water and sewer rates earlier tonight.
Council members Jeff Houin, Shiloh Fonseca and Gary Cook all voted against the increases.
Council members Duane Culp, Don Ecker Jr., Shawn Grobe and Bill Walters voted in favor.
City officials previously said the increases are needed to offset losses from the impending closures of Bay Valley Foods and Del Monte, which will amount to about $200,000 in lost water revenue and $800,000 in lost waste water revenue annually for the two companies combined.
A 12 percent water rate increase will go into effect Jan. 1.
Sewer rate increases would be put in place over three phases, with the first hike — 10 percent — also taking effect Jan. 1. The next rate increase, also 10 percent, would go into effect Sept. 1 and the last, another 10 percent, on March 1, 2019.
City officials previously said that if another food processing company can be lured to Plymouth, the third phase of the sewer rate increase might not be needed.
The 12 percent water rate hike would go from $20.25 to $22.70 for the average resident using 5,000 gallons of water per month, while the tax would go from $1.42 to $1.59. 
Sewer would raise from $24.68 to $27.16 during the first phase for the average residence, according to information provided by the city. The waste water rate would go from $27.16 to $29.88 in the second phase and $29.88 to $32.86 in the third phase.
TreeHouse Foods, the corporate parent of Bay Valley Foods, 1430 Western Ave., announced in August the company would lay off about 150 employees and shutter operations by the end of the year. The plant processes pickles, banana peppers, relish and jalapenos, according to the company.
Del Monte, 506 North St., announced a month later that the business would be laying off about 110 workers and begin the process of closing in November. The facility covers 19 acres and has five production lines, producing ketchup and tomato-based sauces, according to the company. It also makes juice from concentrate. The company says the plant makes about 11 million cases each year of Del Monte, Contadina brand and private-label products. Production is expected to be completely shut down by February, company officials previously said.
Read more about this in Tuesday’s edition of The Pilot News.