Council hears proposals for Edmonds stormwater, water rate increases

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City of Edmonds staff presented updates to the city’s comprehensive plans for storm and surface water and its water system —  including proposed increases to stormwater and water utility rates — during the Edmonds City Council meeting Tuesday night.

The proposal to raise rates — which will be the subject of a public hearing during the July 6 council meeting — is based on several factors. In the case of stormwater, the city is facing an increasing number of federal, state and local regulations that require extra staff to ensure compliance. In addition, the city needs more staff time devoted to educating citizens about how their everyday actions — from washing their cars in the driveway to using weed killer on their lawns — results in contaminated stormwater runoff that travels into area lakes, streams and Puget Sound.

The water system, on the other hand, is hampered by an aging infrastructure of old water mains (some dating to the 1920s) that are failing and need to be replaced. In addition, many of the mains are undersized and don’t meet current fire department flow requirements.

The proposed monthly rate increase for the stormwater utility would be 66 cents in 2010, 72 cents in 2011 and 78 cents in 2012.  The water rate would increase 8.5 percent annually during the next three years, from $22.05 to $23.96 per month.

Tuesday night’s council meeting was the last for Edmonds Mayor Gary Haakenson, who is leaving the city to work for Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon. A farewell party for Haakenson will be held from 4-6 p.m.  July 1 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

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