Utility rates may rise in Langley again

The average household in Langley could be paying over $100 more annually in utility bills next year.

The average household in Langley could be paying just over $100 more annually in utility bills next year.

The city’s public works staff and its Public Works Advisory Commission are recommending an overall 4.6% increase in utility billing for 2022. The proposal, which was presented to council members at a public hearing last week, includes a 6% increase for water, a 4% increase for sewer and a 4% increase for stormwater.

The rate increases approved last year for 2021 were more severe, with 6% for water, 8% for sewer and 6% for stormwater.

Public Works Director Randi Perry explained that the proposed rate increases for 2022 are offset in part by the $4 million Langley Infrastructure Project bond and funding from a $3 million grant.

The hikes in utility rates fund public works capital improvement projects that are not covered by the bond or grant.

Using the example of the average household in Langley, which uses about 7,000 gallons of water in a two-month billing period, Perry presented a chart showing the cost of the utility rates. If the advisory commission’s recommendation is adopted, the average household would pay $117.98 for water, $111.76 for sewer and $61.94 for stormwater during one billing period.

The cost could have been more, however, if Langley had continued to follow recommendations from the city’s Comprehensive Utility Plan, parts of which have not been updated since 2018.

Under the plan’s recommendation for 2022, the average household in Langley would be paying over $500 more annually in utility bills. The water rate would be cheaper than the commission’s recommendation, but both sewer and stormwater would be more costly.

But under the commission’s recommendation, Perry said the proposed cost for the water utility is higher than the other two utilities because it covers unanticipated costs related to rerouting the waterline that runs down Edgecliff Drive.

The same rate increases are also being proposed for commercial ratepayers.

Also under the recommendation, participation fees for brand-new utility connections would increase 4% for water and sewer. Participation fees go towards the city’s sewer capital reserve fund and contribute to capital improvements.

The sewer participation fee per equivalent residential unit would increase from $6,063.12 to $6,305.64. For water, it would increase from $7859.90 to $8174.30.

No members of the public commented on the rate and fee schedule that Perry presented to the council.

A first reading for a resolution will be brought before the council at its next meeting, which is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 15.

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