Utilities increases headed toward Bonney Lake residents

A sewer rate increase and water rate decrease appear to be headed to customers after the Bonney Lake City Council wrapped up discussion on the two measures and was expected to vote this week.

The final discussions and changes were discussed during the May 15 council workshop, which featured a special public comment section on the two utility rate ordinances.

Assuming the ordinances pass as discussed, ratepayers can expect a 10 percent increase in sewer fees in each of the next four years, but can also expect a slight drop in water rates to help ease the pain.

According to city officials, the average customer in Bonney Lake pays about $51 per month for sewers, meaning they can expect an increase of about $5 beginning in July.

But to offset the costs, city officials are expected to pass a reduction of $2.69 per month to the base water rate and adjust down the cost of water consumption during summer months. An additional two cost blocks will also be added to the consumption charges during the summer.

The water rate change prompted the issues to be tabled during the May 8 city council meeting when city staff proposed the current measure in response to the mayor’s proposal to drop the base rate $5.

Officials worried about the drop in revenue of such a change, estimated at more than $774,000.

Instead, the city administrator offered what he called a “balanced approach that would not affect the city’s budget as harshly, while still offering some relief to ratepayers.

The council hosted a special comment period during the meeting to give the public a chance to comment, but only one person spoke, urging the council to cut expenses to keep rates low instead of raising sewer fees.

A vote on the two utility rate measures was expected during the May 22 council meeting. Both measures are expected to pass.