Enumclaw residents will see water rate hike

Customers using city of Enumclaw water will soon be paying more each time they sip, flush or shower – or wash dishes, boil potatoes or, come summertime, water the lawn.

Members of the Enumclaw City Council unanimously approved an across-the-board, 10 percent rate hike during their Dec. 14 meeting. The increased cost for water becomes effective Jan. 1.

The 10 percent hike applies to both the base rate paid by all customers and the additional charge tied to actual usage.

For example, those living in a single-family home inside the city limits now pay a base rate of $11.37 per month; tacking on an additional 10 percent, that rate jumps to $12.51 in January. Those who live outside the city limits but are connected to the municipal water supply, will see their base rate climb from $17.06 to $18.77.

The three-tiered usage charge begins with those who use up to 800 cubic feet of water monthly; they pay $1.62 for every 100 cubic feet; those using 800 to 2,000 cubic feet pay a greater rate of $2.14 per 100 cubic feet; and those using in excess of 2,000 cubic feet pay more still, $2.66 per 100 cubic feet.

The 10 percent increase applies to all three tiers.

Those living outside the city limits pay more for their usage and will also be hit with the increase.

Not too long ago, city customers absorbed another blow to their budgets when council members approved a 55 percent increase in sewer rates.

The good news comes in the form of natural gas rates, which saw a 5 percent decrease effective Dec. 1.

In other news from their Dec. 14 meeting, members of the council:

• Said goodbye to Mayor John Wise, City Administrator Mark Bauer and Councilman Jeff Coats. It was the final meeting for Wise, whose mayor term has come to an end; Bauer, who began a new job as city manager in nearby Edgewood; and Coats, who did not seek re-election to his council seat.

• Heard from state Sen. Pam Roach, who told the council plans are being made to fight closure of Rainier School in Buckley. The move was suggested during an earlier study and is part of Gov. Chris Gregoire’s 2010 budget.

• Adopted the 2010 municipal budget. There were no audience comments, as all details for the spending plan had been worked out during hearings leading up to the final vote. Only Councilman Jeff Beckwith voted against adoption.

• Officially took ownership and responsibility for the Logging Legacy memorial in front of the public library.

• Heard a report from Public Works Director Chris Searcy regarding work on the city’s natural gas distribution system. Having been found out of compliance by the state’s Utilities and Transportation Commission, the city agreed to make numerous upgrades to the system in order to avoid fines that could range in the millions. Searcy said the work is ahead of schedule, a fact that will be passed along to UTC representatives during a Jan. 7 meeting in town.

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