Rate Increase Information
Effective January 1, 2023, the City of Gig Harbor’s water, wastewater (sewer), and stormwater rates all increased by 5%. The City regularly considers the need for annual rate adjustments. The last time the City adjusted utility rates was January 1, 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic the City intentionally decided to not adjust utility rates in both 2021 or 2022. Unfortunately, with two years of consumer price index increases but no utility rate adjustments, the City was positioning itself for significantly higher rate increases in the near future to support the higher costs of operating the utilities. Therefore the City supported a 5% rate increase across all three utilities beginning January 1, 2023. These rate increases cover the cost of replacing aging infrastructure, necessary regulatory requirements, and keeping up with growth demands. These rate increases are a result of Ordinance 1503.
Comparison of Rates
The City acknowledges that its capital projects as well as keeping up with new regulatory changes and growth demands are costly. That said, we believe our rates, in total, are comparable with utilities in other smaller jurisdictions like ours. In addition, the City’s utility, property, and other local taxes are generally lower than nearby cities in Pierce County.
Reducing City Costs
The City has also been able to help alleviate capital costs by aggressively securing low interest (0.25%) loans and grants ($3.5 million) from the State. Keeping operational costs down is also a high priority for the City. For example, the City employs seven people to run the City's wastewater collection and treatment system, which is a 24/7 operation.
Running the entire system involves maintaining approximately 40 miles of pipe, processing approximately 1 million gallons of sewage per day, and managing many moving parts-not just at the treatment plant, but also the various lift stations throughout the city, some of which are more than 35 years old. The wastewater system employees have made great strides in improving the efficiency of the plant, including the reduction of energy consumption and the use of technology to increase labor and the overall treatment plant productivity.
For questions or suggestions, contact Public Works Director Jeff Langhelm at 253-853-7630.