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Everett utility rates to increase due to escalating costs of business

EVERETT — The city’s utility system is asking the City Council to authorize 5% utility bill increases for 2023 and 2024 to keep up with soaring bid prices from the contractor world. The utility has  projects it cannot delay to maintain the system.
If council says yes to 5% more, the monthly city utility bill would be $145.57 in 2023 for the typical household and in 2024 it would be $156.72.
Public hearings on the utility rates adjustment will be during the Nov. 16 and Nov. 30 City Council meetings. Council meets at 6:30 p.m. at 3002 Wetmore Ave.
The Public Works Department will be delaying some of its utility system projects for at least two years, department director Ryan Sass said, to not need to ask for a larger rate increase.
Also, the city will offer a relief lifeline for customers with unpaid bills by offering to pay off part or all of the debt using state and federal COVID-19 grant dollars. This effort will start in the coming weeks, said Matt Welborn, a department finance manager.
Capital projects that public works will need to proceed with involve replacing the reservoirs at Rucker Hill and a second location, upgrading the city water filtration plant, building a new sewage bypass pipe to hold sewage in its lagoons, continuing with plans to relocate the city Public Works service center which utilities funding is contributing a share toward, and a project by the waterfront at the former Kimberly-Clark mill site.  
It’s not just inflation that’s making projects more expensive. A series of events during 2022 is causing contractors to increase their costs: supply chain disruptions affecting materials, wage increases to find laborers during a construction industry labor shortage, and inflation all factored in, sums up commercial real estate firm CBRE in a research report. Pent-up demand after the COVID-19 pandemic means contractors aren’t running dry of projects, either, says this report produced in July.



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