Washougal proposes utility rate relief

Council is scheduled to discuss study on Oct. 14

The people who attended the Washougal Town Hall Saturday morning at Washougal High School received an education about water and sewer rates and the potential for them to decrease.

City Administrator David Scott presented preliminary cost of service and rate results, developed by FCS Group.

Major findings include the indication that multifamily residential customers have been subsidizing other customer classes.

A phase-in strategy would keep rates flat for multifamily customers, while other groups “step up,” according to Scott.

One of the goals of the water rate structure is to provide relief for low water users.

Proposed water rates for a single family residential customer with a three-quarter inch meter would include a $55.39 bi-monthly base charge for nine ccf in 2014, compared to $60.38 for an allowance of 10 ccf this year. The rates would continue to decrease, along with the ccf allowance through 2018.

One ccf equals 748 gallons.

The recommendation in front of City Council would involve 61 percent of customers’ water bills decreasing.

For a single family customer who has an average bi-monthly usage of 16 ccfs, the current rate of $78.20 would increase to $79.10 in 2014, $82.26 in 2015, $85.61 in 2016, $89.06 in 2017 and $92.50 in 2018.

The impact to the bills of medium water users, with a one inch meter, would involve an increase to $103.77 in 2014 (for an average bi-monthly usage of 23 ½ ccfs). That compares to the current rate of $100.16. In 2018, the proposed rate would be $125.95.

High water users, who have an average bi-monthly usage of 116 ½ ccfs could see their current bill increase from $376.69 to $513.95 next year; $563.35 in 2015, $607.80 in 2016, $638.33 in 2017 and $666.14 in 2018.

The sewer rate strategy would involve no increases from 2014 to 2016, and a 2 percent increase per year in 2017 and 2018.

The water and sewer rate study can be viewed on the city’s website www.cityofwashougal.us.

The City Council is expected to discuss the study during its next workshop Monday, Oct. 14, at 5:30 p.m.

The town hall also provided an opportunity for representatives from various city boards and commissions, as well as volunteer firefighters, to talk about what they do.