Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

News around the Valley: Water rates, firefighters, contracts

North Bend approves water rate hikes

New water rates and general facilities charges were unanimously approved May 18 by the North Bend City Council from 2022 to 2026.

The annual rate will increase by 5.5% and new general facilities charges will fund operations, maintenance and capital improvements to the city’s water system, according to a press release from the city. Increases were determined by a water rate study by the FCS Group.

General facilities charges are connection charges paid by property owners or developers to connect to the city’s utility systems and include the physical connection and a share of the cost of the system. Since 2014, the city has increased these charges by 33%.

By law, the city’s water system must be self-sufficient, and customer rates and facilities charges are the only revenue sources, according to the city. Most of the anticipated capital improvements will be funded by these general facilities charges, the press release states.

North Bend expects to issue low-interest bonds to fund $23.5 million in anticipated capital water system improvements, including replacing several miles of old asbestos concrete watermain pipes, ongoing water meter replacement and mitigation water projects.

The new water rates will become effective on Jan. 1, 2022.

Explosions coming to North Bend this summer

What was that boom? It’s a popular topic in online community groups around the Eastside, but this time, readers can prepare for some regularly scheduled explosions.

The Washington State Fire Training Academy will be hosting training exercises in early June and again in mid-July, which will cause some explosive noises in areas of North Bend. The Fire Training Academy is located just east of North Bend off I-90, exit 38.

Explosions may be heard from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from June 1 through June 4, and again from July 12 to July 16 during the same times.

For more information, visit

North Bend approves wastewater treatment plant contract

The North Bend City Council on May 18 approved a contract for Phase 2 of the wastewater treatment plant high priority improvements project. It will complete an estimated $35 million, multi-year project that has been in the works for seven years.

In 2014, a flood caused the treatment plant to fail to meet its effluent permit for several days. The plant was built in the 1950s.

At the time, some $1.5 million in emergency repairs were authorized and a study was launched to figure out how to improve the treatment plant. The council opted to renovate the existing plant in 2016.

The contract will get the city closer to having a modern wastewater treatment plant, City Administrator David Miller said in a press release.

“This was a solid investment to ensure managed, responsible growth occurs in North Bend,” Miller said.

New firefighters join Snoqualmie Fire Department

City of Snoqualmie press release:

Firefighter Peter van Lunsen was hired to fill a vacancy due to Lt. Kelly Gall’s retirement in June 2020.

New volunteer firefighters include: John Solms, Mark Mulligan, John Paul Likes, and Don Fogarty. All are EMS volunteers except volunteer firefighter Fogarty, who is a FF/EMS volunteer. These new volunteers bring the fire department up to its targeted number of 20 volunteers following resignations over the last year and a half.

“The department is excited to have these individuals join our ranks,” said Interim Fire Chief Michael Bailey. “They all bring varied experiences and skills to the department that will be an asset to the citizens of Snoqualmie.”

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