KID committee OKs new townhouse assessment

Townhouses in the Kennewick Irrigation District will be assessed individually if the KID board agrees with a recommendation from the water rates advisory committee.

The committee voted 4-0 on Monday, with member Gary Hall not present, to recommend that owners of townhouses be considered just like other single-family properties in being assessed per parcel.

Unlike condominiums, which do not include property ownership, townhouse properties include land with the structure, said Scott Revell, KID's planning manager who advises the committee.

A decision about how condominiums should be assessed by KID will be considered at another time.

Also Monday, the committee learned that Richland and Kennewick would be hard-pressed to provide water for irrigation purposes through city utilities.

Pete Rogalsky, Richland's public works director, told the committee the city delivers about 6 million gallons of water a day for potable use year-round. But consumption jumps to 30 million gallons and more in summer when residents start watering lawns and landscaping.

Rogalsky said about two-thirds of Richland residents use city water for their yards. Adding more irrigation customers, even through growth, would require millions of dollars in new infrastructure, which he said customers certainly would not like.

"Changing the rules (by adding irrigation to the city utilities mix) would cost tens of millions, up to $100 million," said Bob Hammond, former city manager in Kennewick, who was speaking only to provide a historical perspective to the KID committee.

Having municipally provided irrigation water would be almost cost prohibitive, the two men said, even if the water could be obtained.

Rogalsky and Hammond said the average monthly cost for potable water in Kennewick and Richland is $25, but residents who use city water to irrigate yards will spend four to six times that much.