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North Bend raises water rates 19 percent
Effective Dec. 1, North Bend water customers will see a jump in their city bills. The increase, approved by the North Bend City Council at its Nov. 1 meeting, is 19 percent, or about $6.33 more per month than the average residential customer had been paying, said city Finance Manager Stan Lewis.
The council voted unanimously in favor of the increase following the required public hearing. No residents spoke at the hearing.
Councilmen Jonathan Rosen and Chris Garcia both commented on the increase, which they called unfortunate. Rosen explained that the city had spent the last few years investing in updated water system infrastructure, and in obtaining water rights.
"A lot of those costs, we hoped and anticipated would be offset by growth, which has not occurred," he said. "Therefore, unfortunately, some of those costs are going to have to be borne by the existing rate payers."
Transferring the money from the city's general fund was not an option, because the water fund is supposed to be self-funded. Also, Garcia said, "The general fund simply doesn't have the money."
Inflation contributed to the rate increase, too.
The council also approved a $383,000 loan from the city's sewer fund to the water fund, so the water fund can continue paying down its construction bonds. The term of the loan is three years, with interest rates adjusted monthly.
Residents can view their update rate information by visiting the city website, http://ci.north-bend.wa.us, then clicking "Taxes, Rates, Fees & Schedules.