Bremerton Council considers utility rate hike

Mike Volpe of the Bremerton parks department cleans up Kiwanis Park.
Mike Volpe of the Bremerton parks department cleans up Kiwanis Park.

Mayor Patty Lent unveiled a “status quo” budget last month that would keep service levels in city government at their same levels in 2016.

Some on the City Council, however, would like to see Bremerton’s government do more.

Council President Greg Wheeler is rolling out a proposal that would call for an increase on fees the city charges its own water, sewer and stormwater utilities. Basically, that means that we ratepayers in the city would see higher utility bills, as those utilities pass on the additional costs to us.

And what would we get for a rate hike?

A one percent increase in the fees would give the city the power to hire two additional police officers. A two percent increase would allow for the hiring of an additional permitting specialist in the Department of Community Development and for two more parks workers, Wheeler said. I should be able to get more exact numbers as to how much that means for ratepayers later today.

The Council President believes the time may be right to invest in those services. Cops are needed following an influx of vagrants downtown; a permitting specialist would expedite developers’ plans to push forward with new projects; and the parks workers would help a staff that is already “running ragged” to keep up on maintenance, Wheeler said.

“I feel it’s really really important that our council consider this,” Wheeler said. “You’ve got to believe that it will strengthen our city.”

The Council has the final say on the budget this year. On Monday, they will take up the utility fee discussion. If you’d like to see it for yourself, it’s at 4 p.m. on the sixth floor of the Norm Dicks Government Center, 345 Sixth Street.

3 thoughts on “Bremerton Council considers utility rate hike

  1. This is what really ticks me off; they schedule these damned meetings when most of us are still at work, so the population of Bremerton really doesn’t have a voice at all!

  2. Lets see raise fee so can hire more, but did they not see that Social security and most likely the Fed. employees get no cost of living raise. Great idea lets stick it to the citizens.

  3. These types of budget increases should be paid for with tax increases specifically voted on by the public, not simply through increases the City Council can make to its utility taxes.

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