Westminster moves toward new budget, with debate centered on rate increases

Westminster leaders gave first reading to a new budget for the city’s government year that starts July 1. And Mayor Brian Ramey last night invited all who have questions or comments about what goes into that budget to take part in a public hearing planned for June 11. There’s special interest this year in the extent to which the city will raise utility and sanitation pick up rates to help square the city’s expenses with revenue. Debate last night was inconclusive as to how much extra the city will charge for garbage pickups, but the council set in motion three increases in water and sewer charges over the next year. Mayor Brian Ramey said none of the elected leaders wants to raises rates, but he called attention to the loss of the Pioneer water sale contract as the impetus to enact the increases. The start of Pioneer’s treatment plant will cut the city’s water sales revenue, in the estimation of the city administrator, by $480 to $500 thousand. Councilwoman Susan Ramey cast the lone dissenting vote.