Connecting to the Central Kitsap sewer system to increase $1,000

On three days notice, Kitsap County Commissioners voted to raise fees for new connections into the Central Kitsap's sewer system.

A public hearing was held Monday for a resolution that would go in effect to increase newcomer's assessments for Central Kitsap's sewer system.

By the today, the price will have increased more than 30 percent.

"This is like taxation without representation," Shaun Lane, a Central Kitsap homeowner said, adding that he thought an increase like this should go to a vote by the citizens.

Lane was the only person to testify before the commissioners during the hearing Monday evening.

The board approved of the resolution with a 2-1 vote. Commissioner Charlotte Garrido was absent.

The newcomer's assessment fee is the connecting fee when a property connects to the sewer system. A cost of service and rate analysis completed last year as part of the Central Kitsap Sewer Facility Plan update, determined that the newcomer's assessment fee for Central Kitsap is insufficient for necessary expansion of the sewer facility.

Therefore, the newcomer's assessment in Central Kitsap will increase from the current rate of $3,102 to $4,181, said Stella Vakarcs, senior program manager with the Wastewater Division of Kitsap County Public Works.

The 34.8 percent increase was approved to go into effect March 1.

Originally, Vakarcs wanted to have the public hearing on the resolution to be at the commissioners' Feb. 13 meeting but it "didn't work out" because the commissioners needed to have a work study session first.

Vakarcs said that for any new projects where people will be connecting to the sewer line, the public works department has been letting them know that the newcomer's assessment fees would be increasing in Central Kitsap.

"We were very conscious to make sure people knew the fees were going up," she said.

The last time the rate in Central Kitsap was adjusted was in 1996, said Vakarcs, adding that the newcomer's fees are increased or adjusted every March 1.

Commissioner Josh Brown said that those who pay the newcomer's assessment fees in Central Kitsap will not be subsidizing projects in other parts of the county. Central Kitsap sewer also serves the city of Poulsbo and the Naval Base Kitsap Bangor and Keyport bases.

While the fees will increase in Central Kitsap, the newcomer's assessment fees for other areas in the county do not need to increase based on the rate analysis. Kingston, Suquamish and Manchester sewer systems will only be adjusted based on the percentage change in the average annual Consumer Price Index for the Seattle area, Vakarcs said.

All sewer systems are adjusted annually based on the CPI-U.

The estimated revenue increase for 2012 will be $88,000 from the updated newcomer's assessment fees for all four sewer systems, according to Vakarcs. Of that total, a majority — $80,000 — will come from the Central Kitsap sewer system.


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