Debate Over Water and Sewer Rates 'To Be Continued'

     A controversial plan to revamp the City of Homer’s water and sewer rate structure had another round of debate at the Homer City Council’s last meeting. But a final up-or-down vote on the issue has yet to be made.

     Throughout the months-long process of debating the new rate structure, the biggest opponent has been Land’s End Resort, one of the city’s largest commercial water users.

     In the days leading up to last Monday’s meeting, Land’s End helped to form a group of concerned business owners, calling itself “Homer Voice for Business.” The group paid for a large ad in the Homer News, depicting a sinking ship and calling on the city to reject the new water and sewer rate structure.

     Mike Dye is CEO of Land’s End. He suggested Monday that the city “tighten its belt.”

     Several other Homer business owners testified Monday, saying they feel they’re being targeted by the council. One apartment building owner said he would have to raise rent to cover his increased costs and another said she would consider doing her laundry outside the city limits to avoid them.

     Before the meeting, Larry Slone presented a list of nine items that he’d like to see addressed with water and sewer rates, including efforts toward water conservation, removal of various fees and a proposal to “socialize” the cost of lift stations. Slone’s ideas were later introduced by council member Bryan Zak but rejected by the rest of the council.

     The council did make a few minor tweaks to the proposal before voting to postpone a final vote until its next meeting August 12th.