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      Sewer rates close to increasing

      One more vote stands between residents of Ottumwa and a higher sewer tax rate.

      The second reading of the tax increase passed Monday evening by a 3-2 vote. Councilmen Mitch Niner and Brian Morgan opposed the measure. If it passes at next Tuesday's city council meeting a sewer tax increase of 3% will begin starting in January.

      The rate will once again increase by 5% in July 2012 and then again by 4% starting in July 2013.

      Overall, a 12 percent hike in sewer rates would be in place.

      Councilman Brian Morgan opposed the measure saying he didn't want to further tax residents in the city.

      The main focus that I have is making sure that we are not taxing people to the point that they can TMt do anything because they TMre already taxed.

      The reason for the increase is to help pay for the sewer separation project that is still ongoing on the south side of town.

      "The tough thing with it is this isn't like a street to where you tax someone and they can see that street getting fixed. This is something underneath. There's a good percentage of people that this isn't something in 20 years when their sewers have been separated that they go out in their yard and think ~boy this is just super TM. This is just nice but they're always going to see that sewer rate on their bill.

      Morgan expects the measure to still pass on the Tuesday, Dec. 20 meeting.