King County Council decides against sewer rate hike
June 13, 2011
By Warren Kagarise
NEW — 3 p.m. June 13, 2011
King County leaders decided against increasing sewer rates for 2012 in a unanimous decision Monday.
The rate remains stable at $36.10 per month for most residential customers. The county provides wastewater treatment to 17 cities, including Issaquah, and 17 local sewer utilities.
Officials use the funds raised through sewer rates for maintaining and operating the regional wastewater system in King County, South Snohomish County and a sliver of Pierce County.
The amount ratepayers see on bills depends local sewer utilities. The sewer rate is charged to Issaquah and 33 other cities, because King County conveys wastewater to the South Treatment Plant in Renton.
“Keeping sewer rates steady next year will provide King County residents with some relief as we continue to climb out of this recession,” Councilman Larry Phillips said in a statement. “We must continue sound fiscal and environmental management of our wastewater treatment facilities and operations in order to provide the best value to the people of King County.”
County Executive Dow Constantine recommend against a sewer rate hike in April.
On Monday, the council also approved a sewer capacity charge for new connections to the system in 2012. The charge is $51.95 per month for the average household — a $1.50 increase from the 2011 monthly charge of $50.45. The current rate is meant to ensure adequate wastewater conveyance and treatment capacity exists to meet the needs of the suburban communities.
The capacity charge is assessed for 15 years after connection as established by code, but property owners can save 5.5 percent if they choose to pay a lump sum up front.
The capacity charge for new sewer hook-ups is paid by owners of newly-constructed homes and businesses in order to fund construction of new treatment and conveyance facilities such as Brightwater, a $1.8 billion treatment plant under construction near Woodinville.