Everett utility rate increases will be lower than anticipated

EVERETT — Water and sewer rates are going up for Everett utility customers, but not as much as was first proposed.

Everett’s Public Works department in November proposed a series of annual rate increases, some as high as 8 percent, over the next four years to fund capital projects.

Some City Council members expressed concern about the cumulative effect of the increases on ratepayers.

As a result, Public Works officials removed or delayed the start of a few projects to yield a lower rate.

Everett Public Works director Dave Davis said the department altered the timing of some projects as one method of savings.

The largest was removing, for now, plans to redevelop the service center, Davis said.

That’s a $70 million project that would upgrade the buildings that house the city’s public works and other departments.

Davis said Mayor Ray Stephanson asked the department to revisit the project and look for ways to trim its price tag.

“It is a project that still needs to be done, but we may be looking at a more cost-effective approach,” Davis said.

Utility rates cover about half of the cost of the city’s public works projects. The other half are paid for with long-term debt financing.

The new set of rates would start March 1, with subsequent increases coming on the first day of 2018, 2019 and 2020.

If the council approves the increases, overall utility bills would increase by 5.68 percent this year, 4.71 percent in 2018, 4.72 percent in 2019, and 4.34 percent in 2020.

Those percentages are based on consumption of 1,000 cubic feet of water. That’s the same consumption level used to calculate bills for homes that pay a fixed rate for water service.

That means the total utility bill would rise from $106.34 today to $112.38 on March 1, $117.67 in 2018, $123.22 in 2019 and $128.57. The bills include sewer, water, filtration and a fixed $4 solid waste fee. Those homes without a sewer hookup are charged a lower surface water management fee.

The average household in Everett consumes about 700 cubic feet of water, so the actual bills could be somewhat lower for those homes with water meters.

The City Council is scheduled to take up the new rate structure at its Wednesday meeting. The council is scheduled to vote on it Jan. 25.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

Proposed utility rate increases
Year Total (metered) % increase Total (fixed rate) % increase
2016 $93.60 $106.34
2017 $99.58 6.39 $112.38 5.68
2018 $104.47 4.91 $117.67 4.71
2019 $109.53 4.84 $123.22 4.72
2020 $114.32 4.37 $128.57 4.34

Customers are billed monthly. Rates include sewer, water, storm water and $4 for solid waste. Customers on septic systems or who are served by the Mukilteo Water and Sewer District aren’t charged for Everett sewer service but pay a lower surface water fee. Metered rates are based on consumption of 700 cubic feet per month; fixed rates on 1,000 cubic feet.

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