Water services in the Sunnyside and Soper Hill areas of Marysville were transferred from Snohomish PUD to the city of Marysville, which will result in lower utility bills for the nearly 4,000 residents there.
Residents in the area will pay for their water utilities at Marysville's rate, which is currently lower than Snohomish PUD's, according to Kevin Nielsen, the city's Public Works director.
The city plans to keep the rates at the current level, according to Nielsen. All utility bills for those residents will now be going to one source as well, instead of split between Snohomish PUD and the city, which will make paying for utilities more convenient, he said.
Marysville is taking over the water lines that Snohomish PUD owned so there will be no change of service, although projects to improve service are planned. In particular, improvements to the pressure of the lines and the amount of water available for firefighters are in the works, said Nielsen.
The transfer of the water utilities was completed on June 4, seven years after the area was annexed to the city, and was only recently completed because of a bill that passed in the Washington state legislature.
Marysville officials began looking into the area around 1995 because it was in the direction of the city's growth, said Nielsen. Snohomish PUD was servicing the area before it was in Marysville's city limits.
In 2003 the city entered an agreement with Snohomish PUD to transfer services after the area was annexed, which happened in 2005. However, a state law required a vote from PUD's entire district before it could be sold.
"We already had an existing agreement, we both wanted it to happen and it wasn't controversial on either side," but the state law prevented the transfer, said Nielsen.
A bill was brought to the Washington state House of Representatives this year that allowed for the transfer without a public vote.
City officials took this route because the transfer would only affect a small portion of the PUD's district and they wanted to avoid the cost of a vote.
"A lot of people don't realize this, but a vote costs a lot of money, so this was mainly to save taxpayers' money," said Nielsen.
"What made this bill unique was that it is very rare for Marysville government to get a bill passed in Olympia that is specific to Marysville, and was especially unique during a legislative session that saw few bills pass. In 20 years, we can't recall another time that it has happened," said Doug Buell, community information officer for Marysville.
After a long history Nielsen said he is excited the project is finally done. "I've been here for 11 years and it's something that's been talked about since I started. To see it actually happening is very exciting," he said.