Washougal water privatization a washout

first_imgWASHOUGAL — A plan that could have reduced Washougal’s annual upsurge in sewer and water rates is off the table.The city won’t pursue plans to partially privatize its water department. Officials proposed the plan to help defer costs associated with infrastructure improvements mandated by federal and state authorities.With a unanimous vote, city council members chose to ditch the plan at their Monday evening meeting.“If we screw this up,” city council member David Shoemaker said, “we don’t have the resources to fix it.”Councilors had voiced skepticism at the draft plan, which showed savings of only a few dollars per billing cycle, or between 7 and 14.5 percent of an overall bill. On top of that, the city could be tied down to a 15 year contract with a company.The city’s privatization plans were never fully formed, but they called for an outside company to operate and maintain the city’s new wastewater treatment plant.The city thought the proposal could help defray the costs of making $15 million in plant upgrades, while decreasing sewer, water and stormwater rates in the process.In 2013, Washougal’s ratepayers will shell out an extra $37 every two months on their stormwater, water and sewer bills.The bump is part of a five-year series of rate increases, which were approved by the city council in 2010.In August, the city signed a $45,335 professional services agreement with Science Applications International Corporation, a Seattle-based consultant, to look into the plan. It was unclear how such an arrangement would affect the city’s 29 public works employees.last_img read more