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Bonney Lake sewer rates to increase by 10 percent for four years

After several years of holding the line on sewer rates, it's looks like a long-anticipated increase is finally making its way through the pipeline.

The Bonney Lake City Council is expected to vote next week on an ordinance that would increase sewer rates by 10 percent a year over the next four years in an attempt to bring revenues in line with costs at the utility.

According to estimates from the city, the average homeowner will see their rate increase by about $5 per month after the new ordinance goes into effect this summer.

Though no one on the council seemed pleased with the idea of raising rates, the council seemed resigned to the necessity of it.

"I think we're doing the right thing," Councilman Donn Lewis said during a discussion at Tuesday's workshop meeting. "When the costs go up … that's going to have to be passed on."

A consulting firm in 2010 warned city officials that sewer rates were not enough to cover operations and maintenance on the city's system and recommended a significant increase to sewer rates, but the council at the time did not want to put an additional burden on resident struggling through a difficult economy.

Instead, the council voted to tie sewer rate increase to the Consumer Price Index and vowed to revisit the issue later.

The current rates in Bonney Lake for a single family (non-grinder pump household) is a base rate of $36.51 and a volumetric charge of $2.27 per 100 cubic feet (CCF).

In 2010, the consulting firm, the FCS Group, estimated the average home paid $51.37 per month. Using that as a baseline, a 10 percent increase to the average bill would be approximately $5 per month.

Council members said the increase this year should be offset by a $5 drop in the base water rate, also discussed during Tuesday's meeting.

The council is expected to vote on the measure May 8.

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