Ferndale raises utility tax, but lowers rates

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Ferndale raises utility tax, but lowers rates

KGMI News Reporting
By Karen Taylor

FERNDALE, Wash. – The City of Ferndale is raising its water and sewer taxes, but lowering utility rates in an effort to avoid a deficit in its general fund.

The city council voted four to three to lower the water rate by 5 percent and the sewer rate by 1 percent.

The tax on water and sewer has gone from 6.5 to 9 percent.

Mayor Gary Jensen says they had to make the changes in order to comply with recommendations from the state Auditor’s Office.

Play Gary Jensen on utility changes

In 2012, the state Auditor’s Office recommended state limits on how much of a city’s utility revenue should be spent on overhead costs.

For Ferndale, it created a $160,000 shortfall in the general fund.

Jensen says the rate tweak only covers about $125,000, so the city will have to resolve the remaining shortfall in the next few weeks.

Residents will only see a small change on their utility bills, about 11 cents less on average starting December 30.