Changes include flat rate per housing unit, plus 9-cent increase in usage fees
By BECKY THOMAS
New water rates are coming for Cheney residents and renters.
The Cheney City Council voted unanimously to approve changes to the water rates charged to consumers at its Tuesday, Aug. 28 meeting.
The move creates a flat rate of $8.26 for residential water users—both single family homes and individual apartment units will be charged the same base rate. Water consumption will be billed at $1 per 100 cubic feet of use.
The new structure replaces a single family residential rate of $12.16 that included the first 500 cubic feet of water use, and a tiered multi-unit rate structure that stopped at 250 units. The new usage fee is a 9-cent increase from the current fee of 91 cents per 100 cubic feet of use, and will be applied to all water users.
Public Works director Todd Ableman told the council the changes created equity among ratepayers and would promote water conservation.
Councilman Fred Pollard said the changes were appropriate.
“If people want to water their lawns, that's their business,” he said.
Councilwoman Teresa Overhauser noted that citizens had voiced concerns about fairness in all utility rates in 2009 and 2010 during the city's takeover of garbage disposal services, and said she was glad the city analyzed the water system and the current rate structure before proposing the changes.
Also at the meeting:
• The council approved a $93,000 contract with Olsen Brothers Pro-Vac for annual wastewater inflow and infiltration abatement work. Ableman said the contractor would inspect city pipes with robotic cameras as well as completing manhole sealing and repairs to the sewer system. “It keeps our sanitary water in the system and it keeps rainwater out of the system,” he said. Olsen was the only firm to respond to the request for bids.
• Two newly promoted police officers were introduced to the council. Chris English was promoted to sergeant after a retirement, and Chris Oakes was hired as an officer to fill English's former position.
• The council approved an agreement with the Washington Transportation Safety Council for overtime reimbursement for Cheney police officers working emphasis patrols and public outreach for DUI, car seats and seatbelts.
• Mayor Tom Trulove thanked Councilman Doug Nixon for his work completing city leadership training through the Association of Washington Cities. Nixon was recently awarded the association's Certificate of Municipal Leadership.
Becky Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.