Do the math

It seems there has been some confusion since the Sunnyside City Council was provided the utility tax rates for neighboring communities.

The numbers are misleading. The problem is the tax rates were provided without the actual utility rates that are taxed.

As a result, Sunnyside and Grandview residents have questioned the higher utility taxes assessed in the city of Grandview.

Here are the facts:

  • -Sunnyside residents in 2012 were assessed a flat 6 percent tax on water, sewer and garbage.
  • -Grandview residents pay a 24.2 percent tax for water, 6 percent tax for sewer and a 40 percent garbage tax.
  • -Grandview's utility rates for 5,000 gallons of water usage are $27.79 and Sunnyside residents pay $23.80 for the same usage.
  • -Sunnyside residents pay $51.48 for 5,000 gallons of sewer usage, whereas Grandview residents pay $30.47.
  • -For garbage services Grandview residents pay a minimum of $13.50 per month and Sunnyside residents pay $10.66.

When one does the math, using the 5,000 gallons per month as the common denominator, Sunnyside residents were paying $91.10 on their monthly bills, including taxes, for their city utilities in 2012, and citizens in Grandview paid $83.18 per month.

If the Sunnyside City Council formally approves the ordinance raising utility taxes, as outlined in the 2013 budget that was adopted recently, citizens will be paying $15.47 in taxes. The total bill will be $101.41 based on the current utility rates.

Utility bills in Grandview, for the average household, are the third lowest in the Yakima Valley, behind Union Gap and Selah.

If the council approves the new tax rates in Sunnyside, Sunnyside residents will be paying the second highest rates behind only Toppenish.

When it comes to numbers, a person can make them say just about anything. I suggest you do your own math.


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