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Millwood council votes to increase water rates

Thu., June 7, 2012

Starting July 1, Millwood residents will pay more for water.

The Millwood City Council, during a special public meeting last week, voted unanimously to increase water rates 14 percent.

City planner Tom Richardson said the increase will balance the budget, offsetting an estimated $25,000 deficit in the city’s water fund.

The base rate will be $20 per month per 1,000 cubic feet of water. This means an average user will pay an additional $2.65 per month.

The average Millwood household uses slightly less than 1,000 cubic feet per month during most of the year and about 4,000 cubic feet in the summer.

City Treasurer Debbie Matkin said raising the base rate is expected to generate $26,000.

Included in the rate increase, base monthly water usage will be reduced to 1,000 cubic feet, from 4,000 cubic feet.

The tiered rate structure calculates overages at 20 cents per 100 cubic feet for those using 1,000 cubic feet to 2,000 cubic feet per month and 30 cents per 100 cubic feet if customers exceed 2,000 cubic feet per month.

Matkin estimates overages this summer could generate an extra $8,000 to $10,000 in revenue for the city.

A public irrigation service tier was added to account for water usage by publicly owned properties such as parks and playgrounds. Public irrigation will be charged 20 cents per 100 cubic feet for use up to 80,000 cubic feet per month, and 30 cents per 100 cubic feet above that.

“This puts us on the path that we need to be on,” Councilman Kevin Freeman said. “I know we are going to need more revenue. Hopefully the tiered system will provide extra revenue so we don’t have to consistently raise the base rate.”

Matkin said staff is considering amending the proposed capital improvement projects outlined in the city’s six-year water system plan. The plan was approved by the Washington Department of Health earlier this year.

“If we went with our 20-year projection we have to have profits of $135,000 a year to do the work,” Matkin said.

Mayor Dan Mork opened the floor for public testimony but none was given.

In other business, the council awarded the Millwood wading pool recoating project to Bales Construction. Bales’ bid of $9,365.59 was the only bid the city received.

The work is expected to be done July 1 and includes prepping and cleaning the pool, then applying two coats of rubber-based paint over the existing surface. The manufacturer’s warranty covers three years.

The council also gave Mork the authority to approve change orders up to $2,000. Change orders are to cover required repairs not included in the original bid.

The council awarded the Bridgeport Avenue repair project to Inland Asphalt, with a bid of $11,103.71.

The south side of the street was damaged by Spokane Transit Authority buses parking along the edge of the road.

City maintenance supervisor Cleve McCoul said the city is negotiating with STA to reimburse 90 percent of the repairs.


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