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Salem to appeal PSC ruling

by Jennifer Biller

STAFF WRITER

SALEM -- The Public Service Commission has ordered the city of Salem to fix the existing water problems for the residents at the Lakeview Terrace subdivision within the year. But City Manager Ken Yost said the city will appeal the ruling.

The PSC judgment comes after a group of residents filed a complaint against the city last year.

The group cited continuing problems with water outages and low water pressure.

The commission's order states that the city must install a new water storage tank, install at least a two-inch water supply line to the tank, and replace all the main lines serving the subdivision that are less than two inches in diameter.

The city was also ordered to take any other actions necessary to insure sufficient water service to those customers.

The work is estimated to cost approximately $500,000, which the city does not have, Yost said. To generate funds for the project Salem must institute an immediate rate increase, according to the commission's order, Yost said.

The city has spoken to its engineers and is anticipating the rate hike to be at least 50 percent, Yost said.

The definite amount of the increase will be determined by June 12, he said.

"This would basically double the water bill of all 914 customers and have an economic effect on college students, senior citizens and the entire customer base," Yost said.

"We are filing the appeal because it's unreasonable to complete this amount of work in one year's time and for the financial impact it will have on the customers," he said.

Staff writer Jennifer Biller can be reached at 626-1449 or by e-mail at jbiller@exponent-telegram.com.

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