Snohomish utility rates to increase over 3 years

SNOHOMISH — The cost of living in Snohomish is on the rise.

The city’s utility rates are set to increase April 1.

Water rates are expected to increase 5 percent a year through 2016. For the average user, that means each bimonthly water bill is expected to go up about $4 in 2015 and almost $8 in 2016.

Storm water fees are set to go up 7.1 percent annually through 2016.

Each storm water bill for an average household is set to increase about $2 in 2015 and nearly $4 by 2016.

The rate increases come as the city faces higher maintenance and infrastructure operations costs.

“We have obligations to maintain our system,” City Manager Larry Bauman said, “and meeting state regulations requires investment.”

Wastewater rates are expected to remain steady through 2016. An average sewer bill in Snohomish is currently just under $190 every other month.

After three years of 11 percent increases, the city secured a deal with the state last month to prevent sewer rate increases and keep wastewater treatment in Snohomish.

The state Department of Ecology has given the city the green light to improve its wastewater treatment system instead of spending $44 million to connect to Everett’s sewer system. Regulators granted the extension to allow Snohomish more time to address problems with its lagoon system.

The City Council passed the new rates unanimously.

Amy Nile: 425-339-3192; anile@heraldnet.com.

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