Community Environment Government

Council approves repayment plan for delinquent water and sewer customers

Posted on January 25th, 2023 By:

Gig Harbor residents who are behind on their water or sewer bills now have options for paying the overdue bills and interest penalties.

The Gig Harbor City Council approved a Deferred COVID-19 Payment Program at a meeting Monday, Jan. 23.

The city suspended collection of delinquent bills and interest charges in March 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The suspension was tied to the city’s COVID emergency proclamation, which the council ended in December.

It also ended the suspension of late fees and interest charges for water and sewer accounts, effective June 12.

As of Jan. 1, 274 of the city’s more than 4,300 utility customers were delinquent. The average past-due amount is $526 per account. All told, delinquent water and sewer accounts owe about $144,000.

This week, the council approved a repayment program for customers who have overdue accounts. It includes a provision allowing delinquent account holders to pay down their overdue COVID-era payments over time.

The city will send information about the program to customers who are behind in payments.

City code allows for discounts of up to 50% on sewer and water bills for low-income seniors. City staff members are exploring partnerships with nonprofits to help low-income citizens who can’t pay their bills.

Fourth quarter financial report

City Administrator Katrina Knutson told the council that the city was “well within” its estimated revenues and expenditures for 2022.

  • The city collected nearly $9 million in sales tax.
  • Property tax revenue provided $3.2 million
  • The city’s voter-approved Transportation Benefit District collected $2.1 million for roads-related projects that are underway. Total TBD resources are around $5.1 million, much of which will be spent on transportation projects within the next two years.
  • The city collected $858,655 in building permit fees in 2022.

The city spent approximately 83% of anticipated general fund expenditures in 2022. Permitting issues or other factors delayed some planned projects, so expenditures are below estimates.

Upcoming meetings

 The city council will discuss regulations around alcohol in some city-owned park buildings during a study session at 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26. Also on the agenda is a review of the city’s water system emergency response plan.

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13. All city council meetings take place at the civic center, 3510 Grandview Street, and are broadcast live via zoom.

Other business

  • Mayor Tracie Markley issued a proclamation recognizing February as Black History Month.
  • The council approved a resolution expressing support for two Peninsula School District levy requests. The district is asking voters to approve a Replacement Education Programs and Operations levy and a Safety, Security and Technology levy on Feb. 14.
  • The council elected Council Member Brenda Lykins mayor pro tempore for 2023. The mayor pro tempore performs most of the duties of the mayor when the mayor is absent. Lykins won five votes from the council; Council Member Le Rodenburg won two votes.