King County proposes 10 percent sewer rate hike

April 24, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

King County Executive Dow Constantine proposed a 10 percent increase in regional sewer rates for 2013-14, or about $4 more per month for the average residential customer.

The county charges the rate to 34 cities and sewer districts, including Issaquah, to carry and treat wastewater. So, Issaquah and other contracted entities pass on the increased cost to consumers.

The proposed increase requires approval from the King County Council.

Contractual obligations require the council to adopt the 2013-14 sewer rate by June 30. Constantine sent the proposal to council members April 19.

The council decided against a sewer rate hike last year. Members last increased the sewer rate in June 2010.

In addition to the increase for residential customers, the legislation also calls for the capacity charge for sewer hookups to increase from $51.95 to $53.50 per month. The charge for customers entering the system provides funding for system upgrades and expansions needed to accommodate growth.

Constantine said the county Wastewater Treatment Division saved almost $2 million by operating more efficiently.

Officials said a large portion of proposed rate increase is devoted to repaying money for projects built in the past decade, including the $1.8 billion Brightwater treatment plant near Woodinville.

Issaquah does not operate a treatment plant. Instead, the city pays the county to send wastewater to the South Treatment Plant in Renton.

The county provides sewer facilities to serve more than 1.5 million people spread across a 420-square-mile area.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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