Stormwater utility to increase

Other utility rates will remain the same, however.

Those who pay for Enumclaw utilities will be happy to know their rates for both water and sewer services will not be increasing during the year to come.

Now the bad news: the same cannot be said for the still-new stormwater utility.

Utility rates were part of the City Council agenda on Nov. 12.

When it comes to the rates Enumclaw charges its customers for water and sewer service, action must be taken to prohibit an increase. The Enumclaw Municipal Code dictates that water and sewer rates are to be adjusted annually, tied to the Consumer Price Index for the Seattle-Tacoma area.

In a memo to the City Council, Public Works Director Jeff Lincoln explained that anticipated 2020 revenues should be sufficient. For water, taking the CPI increase would have meant an additional $101,200 next year; however, anticipated revenues, combined with cash reserves, are expected to allow the water utility to survive without a rate increase.

The sewer utility expects to take in almost $4.4 million next year and can exist without the CPI adjustment of $131,500, Lincoln wrote in his council memo.

A separate utility to address stormwater was long talked about in City Hall circles and was finally created in late November 2017. A monthly rate of $5.24 was established and the city began collecting the fee in January of this year.

The $5.24 is for an Equivalent Service Unit, which applies to the average single-family home. Businesses can be assessed for several ESUs monthly, based on a number of factors.

Now nearing the end of a full year of collections, the revenue stream isn’t healthy, according to a separate Lincoln memo to the council. The situation, he wrote, is a combination of greater-than-anticipated expenses and fewer-than-expected customers.

Forecasting into 2020, Lincoln wrote, “it became abundantly clear that the rate of $5.24 was not sustainable.” The options, he said, were a substantial subsidy from the city’s general fund or a rate increase.

In the end, a new monthly rate of $6.50 per ESU was both recommended and approved by council. The difference amounts to $1.26 per month for the average homeowner or a bit more than $15 annually. The increase for businesses, apartment complexes, etc., will depend upon the number of ESUs they’re assessed.

The increase takes effect Jan. 1.

Even with the increase, Lincoln said, Enumclaw will still have the lowest stormwater rate in the region. Information provided to council shows 2019 rates are $23.77 in Buckley, $20 in Orting, $19.51 in Auburn, $16.33 in Sumner, $16 in Black Diamond and $14 in Bonney Lake.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website 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

State legislators discussed COVID-19 impacts during a East King Chambers Coalition webinar on March 31 moderated by Kate Riley of The Seattle Times. Screenshot
State lawmakers discuss COVID-19 impacts with chambers

Four state lawmakers gathered for a webinar with the East King Chambers Coalition.

Fighting the coronavirus, 100 masks at a time

In the early 1930s, Dorothy Lucille used whatever she had on hand… Continue reading

Enumclaw Rehab center a hotbed for coronavirus

Ten clients and two employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

How will COVID-19 impact wildfire response?

Answers and resources are short in short supply right now, but fire academies are still planned.

Gov. Jay Inslee is pictured March 28 at a field hospital set up at the CenturyLink Field Event Center to address non-COVID-19 medical needs. (Photo courtesy of Jay Inslee’s Twitter feed)
Gov. Inslee warns of stepped-up ‘stay home’ enforcement

“Thousands of calls” from residents concerned about businesses and people not following restrictions.

6 deaths so far in Kent, 4 in Renton, 3 in Auburn from COVID-19

Latest King County results from Public Health—Seattle & King County

Members of Puget Sound Fire who will be staffed at the first responder testing site in Covington received additional training last week. Photo courtesy of Capt. Joe Root
COVID-19 testing site for first responders to open in Covington this week

Testing is by appointment only and not open to the general public.

Property tax deadline extended to June

This only affects those who pay their property taxes themselves.

Most Read