BBWSD passes budget with 4 percent rate hike

By Oliver Lazenby

Birch Bay Water and Sewer District (BBWSD) commissioners passed a 2018 budget with a recommended 4 percent rate increase on November 9.

The new basic rate for water and sewer would increase from $68.10 to $70.80 per bimonthly bill. That’s in line with other recent rate increases; last year the district raised rates by 3.77 percent.

“We have a 10-year revenue model where we project what the rates need to be to keep up with the 10-year capital plan,” said Sandi McMillan, district finance director. “The best story is steady as you go.”

The district’s 2018 rates will be the lowest in the county, according to a BBWSD price comparison.

The district’s $5.9 million budget for 2018 includes $3.5 million for operating expenses, $1.9 million for capital projects and $524,000 for scheduled debt payments.

The district’s 2017 budget was $6.3 million. The difference is primarily in the capital projects column, McMillan said.

“We had a bunch of large capital projects last year, including the Blaine Road water main replacement,” she said.

Planned capital projects for 2018 include upgrading water meters, replacing about 4,000 feet of water main and replacing an ultraviolet disinfection system at the wastewater treatment plant.

On Thursday, December 14, commissioners will vote on the 4 percent rate increase. The meeting starts at 4:30 p.m. at the district office at 7096 Point Whitehorn Road. The district isn’t required to hold a public hearing for that meeting, but all meetings are open to the public.

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