Snohomish considers raising sewer bill

SNOHOMISH — Residents could see a big increase in their sewer bills this year.

A typical homeowner would pay $43.87 per month for sewage in 2008 if the city approves new rates. That’s up from $36.15 in 2007.

The rate would continue to climb to $52.50 in 2009 and $63 in 2010.

“Certainly, the biggest increase I’ve seen since I came to work here in 2002,” city manager Larry Bauman said.

The city has no choice but to increase the rates, Bauman said. The city needs about $20 million to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant and to eliminate sewer overflows to the Snohomish River.

Those projects are part of a settlement that in 2003 the city reached with Puget Sound Keeper Alliance, an environmental group, Bauman said.

Bauman said that the city has secured $4.92 million in state grants to pay for the work. It also has locked in $6.5 million in state loans.

The City Council on Wednesday is set to have a public hearing on the new utility rates.

A homeowner this year also would pay $7.94 per month for storm water control. That’s up from $7.25 in 2007. The rate is set to go up to $8.7 in 2009 and to $9.52 in 2010.

A homeowner paid the base rate of $19.65 for water per month in 2007. That would be the same over the next three years.

Senior citizens and low- income disabled residents can apply for discount utility rates.

The city plans to hire a lobbyist for the 2008 state Legislature to win more state money for improving the sewer plant and stopping sewer overflows, Bauman said. More state grants would ease the burden on city residents and businesses.

Reporter Yoshiaki Nohara: 425-339-3029 or

Utility rate hearings

The Snohomish City Council is set to hold a public hearing on new utility rates at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the George Gilbertson Boardroom, 1601 Ave. D. For more information, call the city at 360-568-3115.

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