City of Yelm Adopts Ordinance to Reduce Residential Water Rates

Submitted by City of Yelm

On November 24, Mayor JW Foster and Public Works Director, Cody Colt, presented an Ordinance to the Yelm City Council to lower water rates for residential customers beginning January 1, 2021. The proposed rate change eliminates the costly third tier of usage rates and establishes only two tiers to reduce costs to residents. Yelm City Council unanimously passed Ordinance 1070 to lock in the lower rates for the next two years.

In the new proposal, the base fee paid by all residential customers of $37.84 will now include the first 400 cubic feet used and customers will start being charged for usage after they surpass that amount of water. For reference, 1 cubic foot of water equals 7.5 gallons.

“Customers will see a change in their bills as soon as the rate changes are in effect but, they will really notice a difference in the summer months,” said Mayor Foster. “I’m really proud of the work of our dedicated team of employees, especially our new Public Works Director, and appreciate the support and shared vision of the Council to make these important changes to reduce water usage rates for all of our customers.”

This rate change is possible due to four different factors.

  • Mayor Foster and staff initiated, and City Council strongly supported, refinancing the Water Bond, which will save around $1.3 million over the next 15-20 years and will be used to provide a discounted rate for residents.
  • The South West well at Tahoma Terra is operating more efficiently than originally anticipated and doing the job of two or three wells, which reduces future costs from not having to build any new wells for the next couple of years.
  • The Public Works Department has been doing preventative maintenance that has saved thousands of dollars.
  • The Customer Service Team is providing customers with support, advice and information about consumption habits or leak identification to empower customers to keep costs low.

“The average customer consumed 2,100 cubic feet of water in August. With the new tiers customers can expect their bills this summer to be about $124 instead of the $161 they were in 2020.” said Cody Colt. “Thank you to Mayor Foster, Councilmembers Carmody, Curry and DePinto and the whole customer service team for spearheading this ordinance and their diligent efforts in helping the citizens of Yelm through these times.”

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