Shoreline voters approve City’s acquisition of SPU water system in Shoreline

Sunday, November 11, 2012

From the City of Shoreline

By a vote of 70%, Shoreline voters have authorized the City to create a water utility, and thereby acquire and operate the Seattle Public Utilities’ (SPU) water system in Shoreline by moving forward with negotiating a final agreement.

Over the next year, the City will be working closely with the City of Seattle to finalize a purchase agreement. We anticipate continuing those discussions in December with the hope of having an agreement ready for review by Shoreline and Seattle city councils by the spring. Both councils will need to approve the agreement before it is finalized. The goal is to complete that process by the fall.

Once the purchase agreement has been signed, Shoreline will begin developing operations plans and preliminary work on the initial capital improvements that need to be completed before the transfer of the system in 2020. Planning work will take place over several years. Beginning in 2016, the City will also begin preparing a Comprehensive Water Plan, as required by the State. The plan will be adopted in 2017. Construction of initial capital improvements and separation of the water system will begin in 2018.

In the meantime, beginning in 2015, the City will work closely with Ronald Wastewater District (RWD) to prepare for merging the wastewater utility with the City in 2017. Planning for and integrating RWD into City operations at the same time we are planning for acquiring the water utility will allow the City to look for mutual operational efficiencies that benefit both utilities. These efficiencies or savings to the utilities could come from sharing the cost of billing services, equipment, facilities and personnel.

The City will continue to keep residents informed throughout the SPU acquisition process. There will be a number of opportunities along the way for residents to provide input. While moving into the water utility businesses is a big step for the City, we are confident that it will be successful and a substantial benefit to the community.


Tom Jamieson,  November 11, 2012 at 7:37 PM  

Why is the City suddenly changing the messaging, now that the election is over? Proposition 1 sought ratification of Ordinance 644, "An ordinance authorizing the city to acquire and operate a water utility with the Seattle Public Utility Service Area in the City of Shoreline…"

Now the City is saying the voters have "authorized the City to create a water utility, and thereby acquire and operate the Seattle Public Utilities’ (SPU) water system in Shoreline…"

First it was "acquire and operate a water utility"; now it is "create a water utility, and thereby acquire and operate the (SPU) water system."

Is the new message being stated because in the City's haste to get Proposition 1 on the ballot, they messed up on the Ordinance? Is it because the Ordinance doesn't actually authorize them to acquire the water system at all? What if there is no SPU water utility in Shoreline, only a water system? What if *SPU* is the water utility? And if they messed up on this early but important step, what does the future hold for the rest of this project?

Anonymous,  November 12, 2012 at 9:58 AM  

Get ready for a big rate increase. SPU has some of the lowest rates in the nation. The only utility that Shoreline provides on their own is sewage through the Ronald Wastewater District and that features about the highest rates in the state.

Way to read the ordinance Shoreline Voters.

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