Water district to discuss raising rates

Water District 19 will hold a meeting next Tuesday, where commissioners will discuss raising water rates. They would like members of the public to attend.

Water District 19 is the largest water district on the island and includes all of downtown Vashon, the public schools and hundreds of residential customers in a 6-square mile area. In all, it has nearly 1,500 connections.

General manager Jim McRae said the commissioners have been talking about raising rates for many months and hope to settle on a proposal at the Tuesday meeting.

“We would like people to be there and at least be part of the discussion,” he said. “We are in this together.”

The district is contending with a lot of deferred maintenance and infrastructure that needs to be replaced, McRae said, with the projects to be completed over the next 10 years expected to total some $8 million. He added that the district has been “chasing leaks” along Vashon Highway for quite a few years, and leaks are common along SW 216th Street as well.

“Every drop that leaks is a drop that we cannot get to customers, which means we have to produce that and then some,” he said. “Some of our production will be enhanced if we quit spilling it in the ground.”

Water District 19 has not raised rates in eight years, and residential customers now typically pay between $75 and $95 every other month, McRae said. The idea now is to raise rates substantially for January to help make up for the years without increases and then plan for smaller cost of living-type increases regularly after that.

The meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, at the district’s office, 17630 100th Ave. SW.

— Susan Riemer

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