It looks like Anacortes water users are in for a rate hike and if the City Council has its way, it will be sooner than later. It all stems from a review of anticipated water system maintenance costs, including rehabbing the city’s primary water tank.
City Public Works Director Fred Buckenmeyer has said water system maintenance could cost as much as $1.1 million a year in the near future.
That’s in addition to a planned rebuild of the city’s 3-million gallon water tank that is the city’s primary water storage tank. Cost for rebuilding the tank is estimated at about $1.9 million, but it will cost an additional $2.2 million to build a one-million gallon tank to use while the larger tank is out of service.
The one-million gallon tank would become a standby tank once the larger tank rebuild is complete.
At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, Council member Ryan Walters urged a water rate hike soon, saying, “We need to be increasing rates to cover what we know is coming. The longer we wait, the harder it will be to raise rates.
Council member Matt Miller agreed. “We need to fess up on a rate hike.” Council member Eric Johnson said the city should “start sooner to start accumulating money” for future expenses.
Buckenmeyer told the Council a consultant would evaluate alternative options to the current rate structure.
The last water rate hike was phased in over three years, 2011-2013.
Meanwhile, Budkenmeyer said the city will apply for a low-cost loan from the state Drinking Water Fund to pay for the water tank rebuild, which would not take place for at least another year.