Snoqualmie considers four-year, 42% utility rate increase, new connection charges for future growth

[This article has been updated. The 4-year percentage increase (30%) was incorrect in the original article. The increase is 42%]

The City of Snoqualmie said via press release that following a comprehensive utility rate study, its Parks & Public Works Department determined that utility rate increases and new connection charges are needed to keep the water, sewer and stormwater utility systems operating reliably to meet the needs of Snoqualmie’s current population and future growth, well as continue to meet regulatory requirements under state and federal environmental laws.

The city stated the increase would provide “revenue to operate water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure; operate and maintain the water and wastewater treatment facilities; and inspect and maintain critical equipment. Rate revenue also covers the cost to recycle valuable resources from the City’s wastewater process, including providing reclaimed water for irrigation. The connection charge revenue would go towards new facilities and system upgrades.

According to the utility rate presentation given at the January 23rd city council meeting, the increase for a single-family home would be about 42% over four years. The largest increase would impact ‘high’ commercial businesses (i.e. repair shops, service stations, hospitals with dining facilities, laundry, restaurants, hotels and dining facilities, breweries) because higher concentrated sewer flows are more expensive to treat. The recommended ‘high’ commercial sewer rate would double four years. over

The last the city raised utility rates was in 2014 when a three-year,  26% increase was approved.

Increases, new Charges for Future Growth

The utility presentation also recommended an increase for the cost of a new water connection (3/4″ meter) would more than double and a new facilities charge on both water and sewer connections totaling $20,000 for a new residential home. According to the presentation, the proposed connection charges would be waived for the Snoqualmie Ridge Planning area. Home build out on the Ridge is expected to finish in 2017.

Utilities Separate Enterprise Fund

According to City of Snoqualmie Chief Finance Officer Nicolas Lee, state law mandates city utilities operate as a separate enterprise fund and budget, basically paying for themselves. Lee said the city strives for a sustainable rate structure that also includes planning, being proactive for future infrastructure needs. He said today’s rates help keep some things “up to speed” and also help fund upgrades needed for the coming decades.

Upcoming Meetings

Two meetings are scheduled to present the study findings to businesses and residents and answer questions. Those meetings will take place at Snoqualmie City Hall, 38624 SE River St in downtown Snoqualmie.

On Thursday, February 2nd at 1:30PM, information about commercial rates and new connection charges will be presented and discussed with property and business owners. Later the same day at 6:30PM, residential rates and connection charge info will be discussed, as well as a brief summary of commercial rates.

The city is encouraging residents, property owners, and business owners are encouraged to attend one or both meetings.

There will be a public hearing about the potential rate increases and new connection charges at the City Council meeting on February 13, 2017 at 7PM. An ordinance will be considered for adoption at the City Council meeting on February 27th. If adopted on February 27th, new utility rates will be effective March 1st, 2017.

 

 

Comments

  1. When I look at my non-summer water bill it’s almost all fixed costs leaving little incentive to save on water in the house. If the city must raise rates I would prefer the hikes are only levied on excess consumption (however that is defined) and leave our base rates alone. I’m saying this as a home owner with an irrigation system. Maybe I’d water a little less..

  2. Nice to know I’m not alone — like Greg my water bill seems eerily the same amount every month whether I’ve had houseguests for a week or I’ve been away for a week. It’s like there’s no point in even reading my meter…..

  3. Once again let’s raise the rates so the poor can’t afford it. As it is housing prices are through the roof (both for rental and purchase prices ), property taxes are crazy, not to mention the prices for all the monthly utilities. I grew up in the valley and I just recently was all but forced to leave the home (the valley) I loved. Just as a lot of people I grew up with. The locals are being priced out of their homes so people who have money can move in and ruin the area. I get that growth is inevitable but what gives the outsiders and local governments the right to price the people who grew up there out. People move from other states and the local cities to a also town force it’s growth, instil their comforts and likes all the while forcing the locals out.

    My family pulls in around 60k a year and after paying a ridiculous about for rent $2,350 a month, plus the cost of living in the over priced valley we decided to move to eastern washington and leave our home. Just wanna say thanks to all the transplants for ruining our home!

    • There are mobiles homes available for $675. To 1200. per month in the valley and small apartments in the valley also. Figure it out or yes, you might have to move. (Granted, the $675. place you have to purchase (& actually save a few grand to buy). Fail to plan and plan to fail?!?!

  4. Because all our salaries, which we use to pay utilities, are rising at rates of 26% and 42%…

    “According to the presentation, the proposed connection charges would be waived for the Snoqualmie Ridge Planning area.”

    Why are the developers and new residents excluded from this? How many new connections are expected outside of the Snoqualmie Ridge Planning area. Any?

  5. Dan Marcinko strikes again!

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