The cost of building in Enumclaw will jump during the coming year, as the city has worked toward bumping its fees for connecting to both the water and sewer systems.
Studies of both utilities were completed and the City Council gave preliminary approval to increases during a late-November meeting. It was expected the council would make the changes official during a Dec. 12 session.
The increases – referred to a capital facilities charges – are to be implemented Jan. 1. For both water and sewer connections, the city will be charging about 27 percent more.
The city’s assessment for connecting to its water system has not increased since Jan. 1, 2008. During the past year, the city contracted with an outside entity to conduct a rate study. FCS Group looked at the value of the water system and planned improvements before coming up with the recommended increase.
The increases are based on “equivalent residential units,” the smallest unit of connection to the system. A single-family home is one ERU.
Since 2008, Enumclaw has been charging $3,110 per connection inside the city limits. Beginning in January, the rate was set to increase to $3,951.
The city also provides water service to customers outside the city limits, where charges are much higher. The present rate of $10,457 is set to increase by 2 percent to $10,685.
Even with the 27 percent increase, Enumclaw’s capital facilities charge for water will be noticeably less that the rate assessed by neighboring communities. Presently, Bonney Lake charges $9,095, Black Diamond charges $5,976, Maple Valley is at $4,409 and Buckley sits at $4,138.
As part of the ordinance moving through City Hall, there is an effort to gradually bump Enumclaw’s rate. The consultant has recommended that the connection charge by increased annually in keeping with the Construction Cost Index for Seattle.
The capital facilities charge assessed for connecting to the municipal sewer system has not been increased since Jan. 1, 2006.
The same consultant studied the sewer system this year and came up with a proposed increase of 27.33 percent.
Factored into the rate hike are a series of improvements planned during the next six years at the city’s wastewater treatment plant. During the 2017-18 period, the city anticipates spending approximately $2 million on plant improvements.
The capital facilities charge for sewer will be increasing to $7,164 in January, up from the current $5,716.
Looking at other nearby cities, Bonney Lake’s rate is $10,505 and Buckley’s is $7,426, both greater than Enumclaw’s proposed, new rate. On the low end, Black Diamond assesses $2,250 and Maple Valley is at $3,349.