Yelm Council member Tracey Wood questioned the Council’s Agenda item Tuesday night a 3 fold + increase for new residential water connections via Ordinance No. 926, from $1,500.00 per Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) to $5,036.00 per ERU.
This is wonderful & shows he is thinking.
He just need to go one step further.
Even Mayor Pro-tem Bon Isom asked City of Yelm Project and Program Manager Stephanie Ray if this kind of major increase had a cap.
Both of these concerns were wonderful, yet missed the point.
As Mrs. Ray explained, as is seen now, this increase is only because of Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) which required these kind of increases.
Why are there Capital improvement Projects (CIP) for new wells. new reservoirs, new infrastructure, new multi-miles of pipelines, new decontamination tests and other items to support a new water system 2 miles from the existing one?
DRILL BABY, DRILL.
Only because this City Council has approved all of this in their Water System Plan and is using major water rate increases to exiting customers and outrageous new connection fees on new residential hook-ups to fund to the 10’s of millions of dollars for a whole new water infrastructure in the SW area (Thurston Highlands).
Doesn’t that want to make you want to ask what is wrong with the existing water system?
And well-respected, local real estate agent Cynthia Schmier raised some excellent points about the water rate increases here affecting home rentals & sales. She should know, as she’s been in the real estate market here for years.
Unfortunately, Mayor Harding did not get her and answered rather defensively saying his water rates for his family of 4 were only about $20 per month – the rest was for sewer.
He missed the point – the huge increases to water bills affecting his constituents HAVE been for water, raising monthly bills from $50 to $60 and up.
This lady is a bellwether of what is going on in this town & what she said should bring the Mayor and City Council to attention:
Ms. Schmier said people cannot afford to move to Yelm anymore after seeing the new residential connection fees, increased monthly water rates, increasing taxes & other city imposed sanctions and fees, especially as these affect military families on a monthly stipend.
To Mr. Woods’ benefit, the Water System Plan (WSP) was first voted before he took office, though he voted for water rate increases in 2010 and to send the WSP to Health for approval.
Of course, last night he anyway went ahead & voted for the massive connection fee increase.
Hopefully, Mr. Woods will be asking more and more questions.