The Richmond Hill City Council unanimously approved Tuesday night to raise the water/sewer rates to help pay for the $21 million upgrade and expansion to the city's wastewater treatment plant. The rate increases will be phased in over three years. By 2014, the average bill for Richmond Hill residents will double, from $22 a month to $44 a month. The plant, located near Sterling Creek, is currently operating at capacity. Prior to the vote, taken during the council's regular meeting at city hall, council members expressed that the increase was necessary. Councilman Russ Carpenter said no one wants to raise water and sewer rates, but the city has to to pay for construction. This funding plan is the "least painful" solution, he said. For more, pick up a copy of the Feb. 5 edition of the News.