The city may not have to increase its water rates to residential and commercial water customers.
City staffers believe dissolving Tri-Cities Municipal Water District and putting the city in charge of supplying water will result in lower costs for customers.
A hearing to determine the water district's fate will take place Nov. 20. The City Council on Wednesday postponed until Dec. 3 a public hearing on raising its water rates.
City Manager Michael W. Parness said the city can use existing workers to operate more efficiently than Tri-Cities. A bigger savings will also result once older, slower meters are replaced in all city households.
Although water costs have increased nearly 25% since 1993, water rates have remained the same and are putting a strain on the city's budget. The city's original proposal was to increase rates by 6% beginning Jan. 1, followed by additional increases over the next three years.