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Your City of Ferndale sewer bill is about to get bigger

Wastewater facilities expansion draft drawing by Wilson Engineering (August 2016). Courtesy of City of Ferndale

It was decided at Monday’s Ferndale City Council meeting to increase sewer connection fees and usage rates in order to pay for a needed expansion of the City’s sewage treatment plant.

Connection fees are charged for new connections (eg new buildings) and usage rates apply to existing users.

Different mixes of connection and rate increases across the next three years were considered but it was finally decided by a 4 to 3 vote to:

* increase connection fees by 25% per year over the next three years and
* increase sewer usage rates by 3% each year over the next three years.

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Councilmembers Rebecca Xczar, Greg Hansen and Teresa Taylor were opposed to the mix of increases voted on.

Currently, sewer billing is directly tied to water usage. Realizing water use related to pools, gardening, etc. goes up during the summer months, the City implemented a summer months usage rate adjustment to account for these water uses that do not result in increased sewer use. This summer usage rate adjustment (discount) will be discontinued in 2018 as a result of Monday’s council vote.

The plan to expand the treatment plant is in response to a State requirement that kicks in when the level of use exceeds 85% of design capacity. The increases are reported to be used to meet the debt service requirements on bonds that will be used to expand the treatment plant’s capacity.

The council vote included a directive to enact these increases via the consent agenda at the next regular city council meeting on June 19th. According to City staff, it is possible the increases will go into effect as early as June 30th, in time for the next billing cycle.

The Ferndale City Council has the authority to set utility rates without requiring a vote of the people per Washington State law.

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  1. Dawn Hubbard June 7, 2017

    We pay higher than Bellingham now for the sewer.We cannot even drink the water, we buy ours at the store because it is so bad. And then you are changing the summer rates? 2018 will be welcome to brown town Ferndale. Thanks city council. Can’t wait for election time.

  2. Gloria Bourgo June 7, 2017

    Our rates are already sky high. And now your raising them again, just in time for the summer billing at that too. Time to start looking at places to move to that’s still on septic. And will definitely vote all of you out come election time.

  3. Clint H June 8, 2017

    I never seen a Summer discount on any bill for the past 16 years. Guess its time for a rebate

  4. Michael Britt June 8, 2017

    The article says they’ve exceeded 85% of capacity. There’s no way to increase capacity without actually building more capacity. It’s never free to build infrastructure.

  5. Randy Schuitema June 17, 2017

    They are planning a 200 home development on 40 acres inside the city limits on Malloy Rd. Not including the development on the east side of Malloy, in Malloy Heights with about 175 town homes. Not including the 12 home development at Malloy and Thorton intersection. Not including the development on Malloy above the high school field. That is alot of crap!
    Now put 2 vehicles (on average) at each of those dwellings….and you will have grid lock. And they say the thorton overpass will not be constructed till…?
    Maybe we should stop construction and focus on constructing an infrastructure that can handle this number of new dwellings. Then move forward with building.

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