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Council News Release

3/5/2007  2:50:00 PM
Sara Nelson, Conlin Office, (206) 684-8805

The City's Goal is More Natural Landscapes and Less Concrete

The Seattle City Council, today, unanimously passed a resolution that will ensure fairer drainage rates. The new rate design will result in customers being charged based on their impact on the City's drainage system. Councilmember Richard Conlin, Chair of the Environment, Emergency Management, and Utilities Committee, led the Council's work on the new drainage rate design. "This new approach to drainage is fairer because it rewards property owners who replace concrete with pervious surfaces like native plant species," said Councilmember Conlin. "It's better for the environment because it helps to protect against flooding, while providing more natural landscapes."

The new rate also offers customers the opportunity to reduce their drainage bills, or receive other incentives, for investing in technologies that reduce Seattle Public Utilities' costs by reducing rainwater run-off from their properties.

The new rate design principles are based on recommendations of a stakeholder advisory group that was convened by Seattle Public Utilities to examine how to redesign drainage rates to be fairer and to promote environmental stewardship.

For general purpose or commercial customers, the new rate maintains the existing tiered rate structure but creates low-impact sub-tiers and establishes incentives to motivate commercial property owners to install more absorptive land cover.

Under the existing system of drainage rate billing, all residential customers are charged $136.42 per year-this charge appears on homeowners' annual property tax bill. The new rate design creates a four-tiered residential rate structure based on lot size. Homes on smaller lots will likely see rate reductions while homes on larger lots with non natural surfaces will face significantly larger bills. On the Council's initiative, however, these larger lot owners will have access to the same kinds of credits and incentives as commercial property owners.

Councilmember Conlin said, "The more vegetation, and the less concrete, that covers Seattle the better."


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