Gold Hill officials: no funding for water issues, rate increases a possibility

Gold Hill, Ore. — Water woes continue in Gold Hill. As contractors make headway on infrastructure improvements, new problems are popping up, and the repair costs are draining the budget. That’s left council members scrambling to find more money, and residents aren’t happy to hear that funding fixes may fall on them.

A handful of Gold Hill residents came to a special meeting of the city council in hopes of addressing their concerns of a lack of communication, and rising water rates.

“We’re already above what we can afford,” one resident said.

The council is considering raising rates, as they try to grapple with failing infrastructure that is 70 to a 80 years old.

“The water lines and the sewer lines are too close together,” Mayor Jan Fish says.

Consequently, a recent sewer project aimed at making some of those improvements has caused a ripple effect of water main breaks and boil water advisories that’s causing headaches for residents. And Mayor Fish says there are no reserves to address these costly fixes.

“We have not done due diligence with regard to operations and repairs and money has not been set aside” Mayor Fish says, “we’re having to do that now and there’s a lot of unhappy reaction from the community and I don’t blame them.”

“The people that live here now get to pay for what hasn’t been done for the last 30 years,” resident Cliff Mead says, “and that’s not right.”

Mead says poor planning by previous city leadership means residents will have to take the hit, though the city says they’re exploring all options.

“We’re looking to get some help from the feds, and the state, we’re also having to look at rate increases,” Mayor Fish adds.

“The more they borrow the more we have to pay back,” Mead says, “I mean somebody has to pay for it I agree but somebody’s gotta be held accountable.”

“I don’t know why it’s us now,”  Mead adds, “I think the city should be held accountable they’re the ones that allowed this to happen.”

The public can weigh in on the recent water issues at the next council meeting on November 7th at 6pm.


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