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New Ferndale water and sewer rate structure approved

FERNDALE, Wash. — The Ferndale City Council met for the last time this year on Monday and they left 1 last legacy, a new utility rate structure, that is expected to remain in place for the next 3 years.

Earlier this year, the City of Ferndale hired an outside consultancy to develop different options for water and sewer rates that would adequately fund operations and maintenance along with current and future capital projects including the current treatment plant upgrades and expansion. The consultants provided the council with options which have been discussed over the past couple months and those discussions resulted in a final recommendation which was approved by a 5 to 2 vote at the City Council meeting with councilmembers Keith Olson and Ryan O’Larey opposed.

The new rate structure will be applied to bimonthly utility billings beginning with the February 28, 2020 billing.

Under the new rate structure water usage for city water customers in single-family residential and duplexes will be billed using a base rate of $20.53 plus incremental metered water usage as follows:

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Usage Cost per unit
The first 1 to 10 units$4.50
The next 11 to 15 units $4.96
The next 16 to 30 units $5.87
Units over the first 30$6.93
NOTE: 1 unit = 748 gallons (100 cubic feet) of water

For example, a single-family residential city water customer with 20 units of metered water use (a higher than average example) would be billed as follows:

Usage Cost per unit Units billedTotal billed
BASE RATE$20.53
The first 1 to 10 units$4.5010$45.00
The next 11 to 15 units $4.965$24.80
The next 16 to 30 units $5.875$29.35
Units over the first 30$6.9300
TOTAL WATER20$119.68

Water usage for city water customers with multi-family (without separate water meters) and commercial properties will be billed using a base rate of $5.28 per unit of metered water usage.

Sewer rates also were included in the restructuring.

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Sewer usage for city utility customers in single-family residential and duplexes will be billed using a base rate of $34.54 plus $8.92 per winter-average units.

Sewer usage for city utility customers with multi-family (without separate water meters) properties will be billed using a base rate of $35.43 plus $9.07 per winter-average units.

According to the City, winter-average units “is the average bimonthly water volume recorded … during the period of October through May of the preceding year. Winter-average consumption for each residence will be recomputed before the start of each year and that volume will be used to compute the bimonthly sewer volume charge for the residence for the entire calendar year.”

This sewer billing method recognizes that many have increased water use during summer months as a result of garden and yard irrigation which does not enter the sewer system and therefore should not result in a higher sewer charge.

The flat-rate storm water utility charge for single-family residential customers will be adjusted to $33.11 per invoice (assumes the average single-family lot equals approximately 10,000 square feet).

The City’s utility tax of 9% will continue to be applied to the billing total.

Annual consumer price index (CPI) adjustments and other scheduled increases are set to bump rates up in 2021 and again in 2022. The future City Council can override these automatic adjustments and further increase or decrease rates if they choose.


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