Water rates went up for Medford on March 1

How much are the Medford water rates? I tried their online site and never did find an answer. Is this some kind of secret?

— Ted W., Medford

We don't think it's a secret to any resident who gets a water bill every month, Ted. We've got to agree, though, it does take a little math to wrap your head around the new rate structure.

As you might be aware, the cost of water went up for Medford residents on March 1. The average rate went from $12.66 to $14.65 for 10,000 gallons. Now that we got the easy part of the answer out of the way, we'll hit you with a few numbers to brighten your day.

The base charge for residential customers increased from $6.21 to $7.55 a month on March 1. The Medford Water Commission moved from a two-tiered to a three-tiered rate structure for residential customers, and the new fees that take effect March 1 will show up in bills in April.

A residential customer who uses up to 15,000 gallons a month is now charged 57 cents per 1,000 gallons, and 75 cents per 1,000 gallons for more than 15,000 gallons. Under the new rates, a residential customer will be charged 41 cents per 1,000 gallons up to 5,000, 74 cents per 1,000 gallons for 5,000 to 25,000 gallons, and $1.07 per 1,000 gallons for more than 25,000.

Other cities will pay 54 cents for each 1,000 gallons in winter and 67 cents per 1,000 gallons from May to September.

All customers will pay a 5-cent increase during summer months to save up money for expansion plans for a water-treatment plant along the Rogue River.

Well, Ted, we hope you're drowning in numbers by now.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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