Enumclaw city hall. Courtesy photo

Enumclaw city hall. Courtesy photo

Hearings to focus on 2021 budget, property taxes, utility rate increases

It seems likely natural gas and waste disposal prices will be increasing.

A handful of ordinances, including several that will impact household budgets, are on the agenda for next week’s meeting of the Enumclaw City Council.

The decisions will involve everything from the overall budget for the coming year to utility increases, from property taxes to land use. In all, six ordinances were addressed during last week’s council session and are on the Nov. 23 agenda for final adoption.

Impacting customers’ pocketbooks are ordinances that would, if passed, increase rates for both natural gas and solid waste disposal.

When it comes to natural gas, the city last implemented a rate hike in 2015. But a variety of factors are working against the city-operated utility, according to a memo presented to council, which point toward a deficit of approximately $378,000 by 2023. Utilities are “enterprise accounts,” which require that revenues must match expenditures.

To ward off a deficit, city staff has proposed increases that would impact the average residential customer to the tune of an additional $2.79 per month and the average commercial customer by $4.26 per month. Also in the mix is a rate increase of $1.96 per month for low-income residential customers.

By way of comparison, city staff pointed out that, on a national average, natural gas customers pay a service charge of $11.25 per month for residential customers and $22 monthly for commercial customers. In the Pacific Northwest, rates are much lower, averaging $9.22 for residential users. Presently, Enumclaw’s residential rate is $6.25 monthly.

The proposed hike in waste disposal is largely tied to anticipated increases in getting rid of city-generated garbage, organic waste and recyclables. For example, King County has stated it will bump tipping fees (the amount they charge) from $141 per ton to $211 by 2025.

Enumclaw increased its solid waste rates in 2017, 2018 and 2019. There was no rate hike in 2020 but a jump of 5 percent is proposed for 2021. As a result, the average residential customer (with a 32-gallon container) would see an increase of $2.03 per month.

Also on next Monday’s agenda are both the adoption of the 2021 municipal budget and the property tax element of the revenue-and-expenditure plan.

Budget planning starts months in advance and hit its peak in early October when Mayor Jan Molinaro submitted his proposed budget to the council. The council massaged the numbers during four workshops and the public gets its final say on Monday.

The 2021 budget document shows total spending of a bit more than $41 million.

The property tax portion of the budget anticipates almost $2.2 million in collections. When all factors are considered, the city arrived at a rate of $1.25 per $1,000 of assessed value; so, the owner of property assessed at $400,000 can assume $500 to the city.

Several other taxing entities collect from local property owners, the largest being public education, pushing the total tax bill much higher.

In other action during their Nov. 9 session, members of the Enumclaw City Council:

• Listened as Molinaro took a moment – two days prior to Veterans Day – to honor those who served the country during the Korean War. At the time, he said, the conflict was billed as an international effort to combat the spread of communism.

The war, which lasted from June 1950 to July 1953, claimed the lives of an estimated 5 million soldiers and civilians on both sides of the conflict. Among those were almost 40,000 American service members; an additional 100,000 were wounded and 8,000 were listed as missing in action. Despite that, Molinaro reminded, it is often viewed as “the forgotten war.”

The mayor read a proclamation that will be forwarded to the local post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

A year ago, he had singled out veterans of World War II.

• Were reminded of the upcoming Hometown Holiday drive-through event coming to the Enumclaw Expo Center. The joint effort of the Expo Center and the Enumclaw Chamber of Commerce will run from 5 to 9 the evenings of Dec. 4, 5 and 6. More information is available at www.enumclawexpo.com.

The event takes the place (this year) of the annual holiday parade through downtown Enumclaw.

• Accepted, as complete, a project that saw improvements made to a building used by the city’s natural gas utility. Trinity Construction was responsible for adding a new foundation, replacing structural supports, repairing a damaged ceiling joist and adding new concrete floors.

The final contract amount was $70,300.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in News

Flaming Geyser is one of the several state parks in proximity to the Plateau that you can visit for free on Jan. 1 and 18. Photo courtesy Washington State Parks
Free Park Days in 2021 start in January

The first free days are Jan. 1 and 18.

After a relatively quiet October, Enumclaw's November COVID cases are quickly rising. Screenshot courtesy King County
COVID cases on the rise

Enumclaw has topped more than 250 positive cases, many of them just from November alone.

In addition to traveling through Enumclaw and Buckley, Santa will also be at the Enumclaw Expo Center's Hometown Holiday Parade Dec. 4 - 6, in place of being a part of the normal Enumclaw holiday parade. File photo
Santa to visit Buckley, Enumclaw neighborhoods

Make sure you know when Old Saint Nick is traveling through your area Dec. 7 - 12.

Feel free to use this image, just link to www.SeniorLiving.Org
Buckley budget includes money for streets, recreation projects

Residents can look forward to work being done on River Avenue and a new athletic court.

Enumclaw's decision making tree
ESD students will not return until January

Many teachers and parents saw flaws in the plan for students to return to school after Thanksgiving, just to have them go on winter holiday a few weeks later.

Sage Viniconis is a career performing artist in King County who’s been out of work and seeking creative outlets during the COVID-19 pandemic. Courtesy photo/Sage Viniconis
Puget Sound artists adapt creativity, and business sense, to pandemic

Artists Sunday is an online directory that connects artists across the county, state and nation.

The Courier-Herald is moving to a paid-subscription model. Photo by Ray Miller-Still
Nov. 25 is the last free edition of the Courier-Herald

When you subscribe to a newspaper, you’re not just receiving a product, but investing in an idea.

One of the highlights of Holiday Fantasy has been outright donations to a worthy cause. Here, attendees show their support during the 2018 event. This year, the event will be holding a virtual auction over four days. Photo by Kevin Hanson
Holiday Fantasy goes virtual, offers four days of silent auction

The annual Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation fundraiser helps fund nearly a third of the non-profits various programs, from feeding seniors to arranging transport to medical appointments.

File photo
Snow Lake, located near Snoqualmie Pass in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
Washington releases new forest plan

It outlines ways the state will protect and maintain forest health.

Most Read