Editor's note: The place of the Ronald Wastewater heaering has been corrcted below.
To the editor:
The City of Shoreline’s case for purchasing Seattle Public Utilities is based on poor logic and flimsy assumptions. The city’s ability to provide service without raising rates depends upon its prediction that water revenue will increase a whopping 56.4% from 2011 to 2020.
The city is relying on two questionable assumptions: population will go up 10 percent and all those new residents will use more water.
Regionally, water consumption has dropped even as population has increased, thanks to better appliances, tougher plumbing codes, and greater conservation. There is no reason to believe those trends will go into reverse.
Even if the city’s population soars 50 percent, that alone would not result in enough consumption to support the city’s revenue projections.
Between 1975 and 2004, Seattle Public Utilities measured a 30 percent drop in consumption with a 15 percent increase in population. This trend has continued as reported in the October 13 Seattle Times, as a result of conservation, codes, and costs.
Moreover, Shoreline projects population increases from high-density development. Meaning, the new people will live in housing lacking large, water-thirsty yards typical of single-family housing.
If the City of Shoreline can’t increase revenue by selling more water, it will have to balance the budget by raising rates. No matter what today’s City Council promises, it cannot bind a cash-strapped future council that will look to rate increases and higher utility taxes to close the financial gap.
There are better options than the city overextending itself by going into the water business. Citizens interested in finding out other choices for locally controlled service at reasonable rates should attend the Ronald Wastewater District public hearing, Monday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m., at the Shoreline Conference Center in the Rainier Room.