The Raymond City Council meeting was held at the Carriage House Museum this past week and heard from members of the public about the new proposed water rates.
Ken Grimm representing the American Legion spoke out that the new rates might hurt the Legion and he has seen the closure of area businesses and was hoping it was not due to the expenses of utilities in the city.
Grimm noted that with the amount of retired individuals in the community he hoped that there was something that could be done for the consideration of residents like himself and others who are on limited incomes.
The Council noted that they do have a senior rate and other formulas that residents can take advantage of programs for those on limited incomes and that those people should contact the city to see if they qualify for any savings. It was further discussed that with the new sewer and water rates being proposed, (Ordinance 1836) it looks like that specific group my see benefits when that new rates for water go into effect.
"I worked with a resident and recalculated her water off the new rates and it was a cost savings for her," noted council member Betty Sovereign.
It was additionally explained that the sewer and water systems have to pay for themselves, so there is a basic rate that has to be collected in order for the city to provide the service for residents.
The new rates will flip the way the old system worked giving a break to those that conserve water, after a base level, and make those that use more water pay the toll. It was in a reverse order in previous rate structure.
The minimum charge for the first 6,000 gallons of water used is proposed to be $6, an increase of $4. The new rate will go into effect June 1, 2015. There is an additional increase in January of 2016 to $64, which gives an overall base rate increase of $8 in the next seven months. There is also an $8 pumping fee at the fist 6,000 gallons. As usage increases in Ordinance 1836, the rates decrease from the current $6.20 with a $3 pumping fee to $5.80 in June and $6.10 in January 2016. The rates increase by a nickel for each "next limit" 14,000 gallons, 20,000 and so forth until you reach the upper limit of 860,000 gallons used at $6 and $6.30 in January. Customers of city water will get an additional break at 1,000,000 gallons at a rate of $5.35 increased to $5.60 by January 2016. Any water accounts in the name of the City of Raymond will receive a 10% discount.
The council advised that with the new structure it would pay for the rising cost of labor and materials used for running the city's water system. The council further advised residents need to give the new rate structure a chance, to really see how much it will impact the average customer.
"It was not an easy decision for the city, please do not panic, it is State Law that we have to have the systems pay for themselves," said council member Dee Roberts.
Sewer rates are scheduled at a flat $150. Commercial and industrial customers will pay $150 for the first 10,000 gallons, with a $15 kicker for each 1,000 gallons beyond that. Also starting June 1, 2015. There will be no increase to garbage service at this time.
The session moved on as Mr. Grimm asked the council to utilize the a section of the parking lot for their upcoming fireworks stand and requested that the area be swept and the grass cut prior to June 27. The council approved his request and the Department of Public Works will make sure it is ready for their stand. Later in the meeting Mr. Grimm stated that the American Legion would be holding a service over Memorial Day weekend - May 25, to honor the fallen out in Menlo. The ceremony will start at 11 am and the public is invited to grab a flag on their way in and place it on a gravesite when they arrive at the cemetery.
The council moved Ordinance 1836 out of its second reading, approving it to move on to its final reading before the new rates will be imposed.
A utility easement was discussed as Mayor Jason Dunsmoor spoke of how the PUD, Comcast and Century Tel would be given new access along Commercial street.
During Department Head reports Public Works Director M. Dean Parsons notified the council that by proclamation signed by Governor Inslee it was Public Works Week.
Mayor Dunsmoor took time to thank the museum staff for allowing the city council to hold their meeting in the new Barn expansion of the Northwest Carriage House Museum, for some members of the council it was their first time seeing the new addition. The Mayor also related that council member Ian Ferrell would be filling in the open position on the RWWC for the city of Raymond.
The meeting adjorned at 6:26 pm with the next regular Raymond City Council meeting scheduled for June 1 at 6 pm in the Raymond City Council Chambers.