Sequim may boost sewer, water fees for builders

By Diane Urbani Da La PAZ
Peninsula Daily News  

Thursday August 9, 2007

SEQUIM, WA---The Sequim City Council will reconsider the water and sewer hook-up fees it charges homebuilders today.

The special study session will be at 3:00 p.m. in the Transit Center, at 190 E. Cedar St.

The city’s general facilities fees, now $3,175 for residential water service and $4,350 for residential sewer service, were raised in January.

It was a significant jump, up from $1,500 for city water.

The City Council could choose to raise them even higher, to fund millions in planned infrastructure improvements in Sequim over the coming decade.

During today’s session, Ashley Emery of Peninsula Financial Consulting is expected to give the council the results of his general facilities fees and utility rates study.

Emery, along with Gray and Osborne, a Seattle engineering firm, have suggested raising the fees to $4,518 for tapping into city water and $5,592 for sewer service.

Affordable housing hurt?

Council members balked at that earlier this year, the saying such hikes could all but halt house building in Sequim and hurt those who would construct the affordable housing the city sorely needs.

The fee increases could “have a devastating impact on people’s interest in building homes,” said Councilman Paul McHugh, a veteran real estate broker.

But plenty of retirees and refugees from the Midwest and Rocky Mountain states continue to flow northwestward, he said.

So far this year, the city has issued 368 building permits for residential units.

They include 75 single-family homes, 18 manufactured homes, 64 duplexes and 211 apartments.

Still, the City Council members told Emery that before they considered raising fees, they wanted him to conduct a study and report back to them.

After the meeting, the council will go into a 5 p.m. closed session, possibly to talk about acquiring property for a new Sequim City Hall---a project that could cost $8 million or more.

Sequim Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-681-2391 or



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