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Petaluma's sewer-rate rollback debated

In a forum Wednesday night on Petaluma's Measure U sewer-rate rollback ballot question, those on both sides of the issue sympathized with hard-hit ratepayers struggling to make do in these difficult financial times.

"There's no provision here for reducing the rates for people who are having a hard time making it ...That's what we're trying to stop here, them going over into the abyss as far as cost," said Jim Fitzgerald, one of the measure's main supporters.

Pamela Tuft, the city's interim water department head, called the goal of helping struggling residents admirable.

But "rolling back (rates) for every single customer back to 2006 and facing bankruptcy for the city is not a solution," she said.

Measure U on the Nov. 2 ballot asks Petaluma residents if they want to return wastewater rates to what they were on Jan. 1, 2006. Any future increases would have to be approved by a citywide vote.

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