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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


King County’s stellar credit rating will result in lowest sewer rate increase in 15 years and reduce debt by $582 million

Summary

The next sewer rate increase will be the lowest in 15 years under a proposal by Executive Constantine. And by borrowing less and relying more on cash financing to pay for capital projects, the county will reduce its outstanding debt by more than a half-billion dollars.

Story

Thanks in large part to King County’s strong credit rating, the next sewer rate increase will be the lowest in 15 years under a proposal by King County Executive Dow Constantine.

His proposal calls for less borrowing and more cash financing to pay for capital projects, which will reduce outstanding debt by more than a half-billion dollars.

“We’re saving taxpayer dollars and building the infrastructure our growing region needs to protect our natural environment,” said Executive Constantine. “Our strong track record as financial stewards continues to pay dividends for King County ratepayers.”

Borrowing less and relying more on cash-financing for wastewater capital projects lowers sewer rates over the long term and will reduce the county’s debt by $582 million by 2030. Without Executive Constantine’s proposed actions, the outstanding debt would increase by $721 million by 2030.

In the proposal that he sent to the King County Council, the county’s monthly wholesale sewer rate would increase by 5.2 percent – or $2.19 – to $44.22 on Jan. 1, 2017. The proposed rate would be in effect through the end of 2018.

The Wastewater Treatment Division’s status as a well-managed, efficient utility is reflected in its excellent credit ratings. Both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have consistently affirmed the Wastewater Treatment Division’s bond ratings at Aa2 and AA+ respectively.

“As representatives of the local cities and the sewer districts who bill customers for wastewater services, we appreciate having a role in developing sound financial policies for King County’s utility that will keep future rates stable,” said Pam Carter, chair of the Metropolitan Water Pollution Abatement Advisory Committee.

The rate proposal calls for the monthly capacity charge levied on new customers to increase by 3.6 percent, from $58.70 to $60.80. The capacity charge, which new customers pay in addition to the monthly sewer rate over a 15-year period, covers the costs of system expansions and new infrastructure needed to serve the region’s growing population.

King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division serves 1.6 million residents across a 424-square mile service area. Under long-term contracts with 34 local jurisdictions and sewer agencies including Seattle Public Utilities, King County collects and treats wastewater for these customer agencies at one of three regional treatment facilities.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Annie Kolb-Nelson, DNRP’s Wastewater Treatment Divisions, 206-263-6157


Relevant links


Quotes

We’re saving taxpayer dollars and building the infrastructure our growing region needs to protect our natural environment. Our strong track record as financial stewards continues to pay dividends for King County ratepayers.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

As representatives of the local cities and the sewer districts who bill customers for wastewater services, we appreciate having a role in developing sound financial policies for King County’s utility that will keep future rates stable.

Pam Carter, Chair of the Metropolitan Water Pollution Abatement Advisory Committee

For more information, contact:

Chad Lewis, Executive Office, 206-263-1250


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography