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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Perhaps Brewers Should Take Shorter Showers

The folks at Bear Republic Brewery in Healdsburg, Calif., took home the Small Brewery of the Year honors at this year's Great American Beer Festival. The celebration likely ended when the brewery was hit with a $220,000 sewer bill from the City of Healdsburg.

Local businesses expected a hike in fees brought on by the construction of a new $31 million sewage treatment plant and enhancements to the water and sewer system, but about 100 businesses were told they were using more water and generating more waste than allowed under connection fees paid previously. Healdsburg officials gave the businesses the choice of paying their new larger bills by Dec. 29 or paying a one-time fee in January 2007.

Property owners and businesses have complained the the Healdsburg City Council, which voted to delay the fees until July so that officials can study the issue. The city has already been increasing sewer fees quarterly since 1995 to help fund the sewer improvements.

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