LOTT Clean Water Alliance proposes boosting its monthly rates by 2 percent in the regional sewer utility’s 2017-18 draft $83.4 million budget and capital facilities plan.
If approved, the rate charged to LOTT customers in Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater and Thurston County would climb from $37.14 to $37.88 per month in 2017, according to LOTT spokeswoman Lisa Dennis-Perez. That’s in addition to the amount each jurisdiction charges for its sewer service.
In addition, LOTT’s one-time connection fee for new customers would jump from $5,355 to $5,579 in 2017.
A public hearing on the proposed budget is set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the LOTT Regional Services Center, 500 Adams St. NE, Olympia. The budget includes operating expenses and capital projects for the next two years.
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“It’s the first time LOTT’s ever done a biennial budget,” said Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero, who is president of LOTT’s board of directors.
She said the utility’s staff originally proposed a 3 percent rate increase to help LOTT keep up with inflation.
“We were able to put off some non-crucial projects and were able to lower that increase from 3 percent to 2 percent,” Romero said.
As a result, LOTT will delay building a new storage warehouse at the Budd Inlet Treatment Plant, Dennis-Perez said. A 20 percent cut is also proposed to a water conservation program that offers rebates to residents and commercial businesses for installing low-flow toilets, and other water-efficient fixtures and appliances. LOTT doesn’t get a lot of participation for the commercial rebates, Dennis-Perez said.
“The board felt it was probably safe to shave that budget a little bit and have that benefit the rate-payers,” she said.
The proposed 2017-18 budget includes $24.7 million for operations and about $18 million for debt payments. The utility plans to spend about $40.64 million on capital expenses.
Among the biggest proposed expenditures: $13.14 million in upgrades to the sludge de-watering system at the Budd Inlet Treatment Plant and $2.89 million for improvements at the Martin Way Reclaimed Water Plant.
The utility also wants to spend about $1.9 million for biologic process improvements. If approved, LOTT would reconfigure basins it uses to remove nitrogen before waste water is discharged into Puget Sound, “which is very important for the health of Budd Inlet,” Dennis-Perez said. The new process would be more energy efficient and replace equipment that is reaching the end of its life, according to the budget document.
Rates for 2018 won’t be determined until next fall, Dennis-Perez said.
If you go
A public hearing for LOTT’s proposed 2017-18 budget and capital improvements plan will begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the LOTT Regional Services Center, 500 Adams St. NE, Olympia. For more information or to submit comments by phone or email, contact Lisa Dennis-Perez at 360-528-5719 or firstname.lastname@example.org.