What is the city doing to inform and involve the public in the study?
  • The City held an open house on November 5, 2022, to introduce the community to the study. 
  • The city also conducted a series of interviews with community members to better understand their concerns about rates and to answer questions about the rate study. 
  • After the open house and interviews, the city convened the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) made up of residential, small business, and commercial customers. 
    • The CAC met 6 times over 9 months to dig into the details of the three utilities and to provide advice to the city council on new rates that will ensure the city can provide these essential services and that will have minimal impacts on ratepayers. 
    • The CAC initially weighed four general options for future rates: 
      • maintain existing rates
      • decrease existing rates by 10%
      • increase rates considering inflation and 5-year capital needs
      • increase rates by considering inflation and programmed 10-year capital needs. 
    • The CAC felt that the “maintain existing rates” and “decrease rates by 10%” options were financially irresponsible and would only result in “passing the buck” into the future while putting the city’s water, sewer, and stormwater systems at risk. As the CAC reviewed the other two options, and several other iterations of those options, they determined that it would be their advice to city council to adopt new rates that would limit annual increases for the average residential customer to 3% annually for a combined water, sewer and stormwater bill over the next five years, while ensuring equity between customer classes. This results in the following system wide annual increases: 2.9% single family, 2.3% Multi-family, 3.3% Commercial and 3.3% Large Commercial.

Upcoming Outreach

  • The City is holding a public open house on November 29, 2023, to review the rate study process with the community. 
  • The City is also holding two informal drop in sessions on the rate study and will share details about those events once they are scheduled. 
  • City Council is scheduled to consider adopting the new rates in January 2024 and, if adopted, the new rates will take effect in February 2024.

Show All Answers

1. I heard the city is conducting a rate study. What is being studied?
2. What is the city doing to inform and involve the public in the study?
3. How much of a rate increase should I expect?
4. What would happen if the city kept rates the same as they are now or lowered them? Why does the city need to raise rates?
5. The bill we receive for the three utilities can be confusing. What can be done to improve it?
6. What is a typical bill for Washougal ratepayers?
7. My bi-monthly bill seems high to me which makes me wonder about other cities. Why are rates in similar cities different and is the rumor true that our rates are some of the highest in the state?
8. I’m frustrated by the high rates. What is the city doing to keep our rates reasonable?
9. Has the city considered going to a monthly billing cycle?