LONG BEACH - At their last meeting of 2009 Monday, Long Beach city councilors approved a 5 percent increase on water, storm/surface water, and sewer rates.

Effective Jan. 1, monthly residential charges inside city limits will increase from $23.69 to $24.87. Depending on the meter size, commercial ratepayers will look at charges between $29.58 and $69.05 per month. Outside the city limits, residential ratepayers will see an increase from $35.53 per month in 2009 to $37.31 in 2010. Monthly commercial meter charges will range from $44.37 to $103.58.

For each 100 cubic feet of water in excess of the 400 cubic foot minimum allowed per month, the city will add commodity charges ranging from $1 to $4.45 within the city limits, and between $1.49 and $4.45 outside city limits.

Residential and commercial storm water and surface water charges will increase from $8.95 to $9.40 per month.

Single family residences apartment unit sewer rates will see a $1.94 increase per month. Base sewer charges for motels will increase by $2.59 per month.

The council also passed a resolution regarding Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5967, which better ensures non-discriminatory practices for community athletics programs.

Councilors took time to thank councilwoman Betty Ahern for the work she completed during her four years with the city. Mayor Bob Andrew thanked her for her dedication to the city's sign ordinance and her help with the Comprehensive Plan. Councilman Steven Linhart thanked her for mentoring him.

"I signed up for four years and wanted to give my four years. If I would've been reelected my heart wouldn't have been in it as much as my first four years," she replied, adding that the council has come a long way. "It's a good bunch to work with, so thank you."

Among council reports, Linhart said city crews recently fixed a sewer leak on 16th Street NE and a water leak at South 5th and Oregon streets, as well as shut off a 1,500-gallon per minute water line break north of town.

Mayor Andrew noted that there will be a workshop on Jan. 11 to establish goals for the council.

City Administrator Gene Miles was happy to announce that the bids are out on the water plant. He expects that the council will be picking a contractor sometime in February. He also thanked Mark Perez for his help and dedication to assisting city staff.

In staff reports, Long Beach Police Chief Flint Wright gave a brief play-by-play of a slow-speed chase where officers directed a wayward sea lion from the physical therapy clinic in Ilwaco to the Port of Ilwaco.

"Where did [the sea lion] come from?" councilman Ralph Moore asked.

"Water, Ralph," Wright responded.

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