By Gale Fiege Herald Writer
ARLINGTON — Arlington City Council members unanimously jumped at the chance Monday to give people who live in the city a little break from rising costs.
If the regional Consumer Price Index goes up, city code allows the council to annually raise water rates. By law, the council could have voted for a rate increase of about $35 a year for the average household.
“Normally, our water rates would be slated for an increase,” city spokeswoman Kristin Banfield said. “But the city was able to make enough adjustments to save some money and pass that savings to consumers.”
Water rates this year will stay at the 2011 levels.
It is unusual to be able to temporarily rescind city law for the common good, and council members were excited to put the regular rate increase aside for now, Banfield said.
The savings is credited primarily to an increase in the amount of water produced by city wells and the resulting reduction in the amount of water Arlington buys from the Snohomish County Public Utility District.
The city has been working for several years to buy more rights to water in the Stillaguamish River watershed. Essentially, the city pays people not to use their own private wells, allowing the city to take more water from the public wells.
“We also have seen people in Arlington doing their parts to use less water,” Banfield said. “People are using more efficient toilets and shower heads and limiting their lawn watering. They are doing all the right things.”
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; firstname.lastname@example.org.