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Council establishes new utility discount rates for disabled/seniors

With little fanfare, the Sunnyside City Council Monday night formally approved an ordinance establishing new water and sewer discount rates for seniors and disabled residents.

Council heard no comments during the public hearing on the issue, which coincides with a recent water rate increase Council approved.

Under the ordinance approved by Council Monday night, disabled residents and senior citizens will see their water rate discounts increase from $5 to $5.70 a month. The sewer rate discount will increase from $6 to $6.68. The increase in the discounts takes effect Aug. 1.

Sunnyside City Manager Bob Stockwell said the discounts will coincide with the rate increases Council has approved in the past.

Those eligible will also automatically receive a larger discount on their utility bill anytime the Council implements a utility rate increase. The discount for disabled residents and senior citizens will be the same amount as the utility increase Council approves.

Of the current accounts the city has, there are 88 homes that are taking advantge of the discounted rates. Stockwell said there wasn't enough time before the Council meeting for staff to break down how many of the 88 homes are those of disabled residents and how many are those of senior citizens.

Councilman Bruce Ricks, who spearheaded the push to increase the amount of the discounts, said he was glad to see Council approve the ordinance.

Councilwoman Bengie Aguilar said she would like to see the city put the information about the utility discounts into a Spanish newspaper publication. Local residents have to apply to receive the discounts. Mayor Ed Prilucik said he would ask Stockwell if that was something he would want to pursue.

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