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Snohomish city water, sewer rates to stay the same through 2022

SNOHOMISH — City residents will not see an increase in water or sewer rates for the coming year.
City administrator Steve Schuller said the rates will remain flat, with a 0 percent increase. The City Council chose from two options recommended by staff: one would have reduced rates and the other kept them as-is. In consideration for inflation, the council went with a zero-growth option, he said.
Schuller explained rate options for the wastewater, drinking water and stormwater for the next three years, from January to the end of the year in 2022. The city’s use of a technology that is a standout statewide has led to strides in its utilities, he said.
No one signed up to give public comment on the issue.
Of the two options, Councilwoman Karen Guzak made a motion to accept the rate decrease, which would have dropped water costs by 3 percent. No second to the motion was offered, and Mayor John Kartak directed council members to continue deliberation or offer another motion.
The council discussed the long-term benefits of option one, which would keep rates flat and maintain the ending fund balance for utilities. Keeping rates stable is intended to keep the fund balance healthy. The intent is to take advantage of low costs for other projects if a recession occurs.
Councilman Steve Dana made a motion to keep rates flat through 2022 and Councilman Paul Kaftanski seconded the motion, stating earlier in the meeting that the choice to keep rates flat would be easier for ratepayers to accept. If rates are lowered this year, there could be a need to raise them later on.
“No one will remember the rates going down, but people will remember rates going up,” Kaftanski said.



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