Council to vote on 4-year water, sewer rate increases
EVERETT - The city’s water and sewer rates are set to increase during the next four years.
In 2013, flat-rate water customers will pay $30.24 each month. Metered customers will pay a base rate of $15.13 each month. The metered rate will charge $3.02 for every 100 cubic feet over 500 cubic feet of water used.
Half of Everett’s metered homes use less than 600 cubic feet of water a month, city spokeswoman Kate Reardon said.
Households will pay $48 each month in 2013 for sewer. The city bills bimonthly.
The City Council sets a four-year rate schedule for water and sewer. The rate changes average out to an annual 6.4 percent increase through 2016.
The public can weigh in on the increases on Wednesday, Nov. 14 when the council votes on the rate schedule. Council members largely agreed with the rate schedule when it was first presented last week and were amused at the idea of people conserving water by showering less.
The city reduced the base use rate for metered customers from 600 cubic feet (4,500 gallons) to 500 cubic feet (3,700 gallons) in the rate changes.
The change is customer driven, Reardon said. Nearly half of Everett’s 6,000 single-family metered customers use less than 600 cubic feet a month, Reardon said. About 650 of those customers, though, use more than 500 cubic feet a month and would be charged the extra usage fee.
The flat rate is based on a maximum use of 1,000 cubic feet and is going up 6.25 percent, Reardon said.
The city is increasing rates for a few reasons. The city is installing meters citywide, building new pipes and it lost a major water user in the Kimberly-Clark mill shutdown.
The state mandated cities have meters at all homes by 2017 to encourage conservation. Half of Everett’s homes, mostly in the older north side, do not have meters.
The city is installing the meters citywide at the cost of $10 million. The work started this summer and will take five years to complete.
Losing the Kimberly-Clark mill in April cost the city $2 million in annual utility tax revenue. It used about 10 billion gallons of water a year.
The city also lost out on serving parts of Lake Stevens and Mukilteo to other providers, resulting in a loss of $1 million in revenue, public works director Dave Davis said.
The city, though, is searching for new replacement customers. It’s in exploratory talks with Bothell to serve part of that city, Davis said. Everett also is in talks with supplying water to the Tulalip Tribes.
Everett’s system is one of the largest ones regionally, serving many outlying cities.
The rates pay for new water and sewer infrastructure, capital projects, taxes on those projects and labor. Capital projects and labor make up about 60 percent of the cost.
Rates for 2014-2016
The monthly sewage rates for upcoming years are $49.15 in 2014, $51.10 in 2015 and $52.70 in 2016.
The monthly flat water rates for upcoming years are $33.83 in 2014, $37.19 in 2015 and $42.47 in 2016.
The base metered water rates are $16.92 in 2014, $18.95 in 2015, and $21.24 in 2016.
Among big cities, Everett has some of the lowest utility rates, Davis said. Everett will be charging $73 for 1,000 cubic feet of water and sewer use a month. Seattle charges more than $100 more at $179.94 for the same usage, according to public works figures.
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