The assertions of Linda Mays, in her recent letter to the editor, that utility rate increases in Pasco are making the city an "unaffordable" place to live are based more on emotion than fact.
Rather than implementing small increases each year to keep up with rising costs associated with utility operations (energy, supplies, labor and more) the city has chosen to consider less frequent adjustments based on need as well as identifiable future costs.
With less frequent rate adjustments, increases are necessarily larger. The new combined base utility rate in Pasco for residential units (water/sewer/ambulance/stormwater) after Feb. 1 will be $60.50. By comparison the base rate for the same utilities in Richland will be $71.13; in Moses Lake $67.60 and in Kennewick $50.90. In Walla Walla the rate without ambulance (which requires a separate EMS property tax levy) will be $102.60.
Compared with neighboring, similar-sized cities, Pasco is still quite "affordable."
STAN STREBEL, Pasco deputy city manager