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Arlington foregoes scheduled utility rate increase

City of Arlington Public Works Director Jim Kelly recommends to the Arlington City Council on Jan. 6 that they vote to rescind the scheduled water, sewer and storm water utilities for 2014. - Kirk Boxleitner
City of Arlington Public Works Director Jim Kelly recommends to the Arlington City Council on Jan. 6 that they vote to rescind the scheduled water, sewer and storm water utilities for 2014.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — The rate increases that had been scheduled for the city of Arlington’s water, sewer and storm water utilities for 2014 were officially rescinded by the Arlington City Council’s unanimous vote on Monday, Jan. 6.

“Over the course of the past year, we’ve worked hard to secure more state and federal grant funding,” city of Arlington Public Works Director Jim Kelly said. “We’ve also produced more of our own drinking water, drawing it from local wells, which has allowed us to purchase less water from outside sources. These measures have yielded cost savings that we’ve been able to pass on to our citizens and rate-payers.”

As such, neither the city’s residents nor its businesses will be see any increases to the rates that they will be charged on these utilities in 2014. The Council had likewise rescinded the scheduled water rate increases in 2013, but allowed the automatic rate increases for sewer and storm water for that year.

Although Arlington Municipal Code calls for automatic rate increases for its water, sewer and storm water utilities each year, based on corresponding annual increases in the Consumer Price Index for the Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton metropolitan area, Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert agreed with Kelly’s recommendation that the city forego those rate increases this year, especially in light of the money saved last year through the efficient operations of the city’s waste water treatment plant.

“It’s a nice way to start the New Year,” Council member Chris Raezer said.

“I’m guessing there won't be any objections,” fellow Council member Dick Butner predicted accurately.

“With automatic rate increases, the risk is that they can be forgotten,” Council member Marilyn Oertle said. “The fact that this city actually looks at this data each year is a big thing.”

Arlington’s residential utility customers currently pay a base $32.15 water rate, plus a metered rate for volumes of more than 300 cubic feet. While both residents and businesses pay a $70.15 per month sewer rate, businesses also pay a volume rate of $7.25 per 100 cubic feet per month. Sewer rates for the city’s industrial customers can range from $429 to $1,715, depending on how much and what types of waste they discharge, with rates varying depending on the weight and volume of that discharge. Storm water rates are determined by the size of the property.

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