Tumwater proposes increases in stormwater utility fees to fund Deschutes Estuary project


Tumwater is proposing several increases in stormwater utility fees to fund the city’s contribution toward the Capitol Lake-Deschutes Estuary project.

During a city council work session yesterday, September 13, city administrator John Doan proposed an increase to Tumwater’s stormwater utility fees of 0.5% in years 2023-2026, 1.0% in 2027-2030, 0.5% in 2031-2036, and 0.5% during each even-numbered year until 2050.

The increase in fees will cover the city’s contribution to the estuary project, which they calculated will cost $2,768,000. This amount does not account for inflation or other factors for cost escalation.

Doan estimated that the city’s contribution could rise to $5 million with other factors considered.

“If the sediment in the lake has to be disposed of upland… it has to be containerized and trucked to Oregon and deposited there. Obviously, the price of the whole project skyrockets,” Doan gave as an example during the work session.

According to documents prepared for the work session, a standard stormwater bill of $13.02 in 2022 will increase by $0.65 with all the amendments.

Doan said at the meeting that the staff has not yet calculated how much the overall percentage increase would be by 2050. Council member Charlie Schneider noted that the fees could rise to approximately 15% over the timeline, which Doan said might be correct.

“I haven't done that calculation. So [Schneider] may well be right,” Doan said. “It’s a lot of little percentages over a long period of time [but] you're gonna have inflation occurring over that same period of time.”

Doan noted that LOTT Clean Water Alliance and Thurston County would contribute around the same amount to Tumwater. Olympia’s contribution will be higher at $4,100,000 in 2022 dollars.

As part of an agreement being drafted for the estuary project, Tumwater will also be responsible for the maintenance of boardwalks that will be constructed on the south basin.

During the design and permitting process, the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services will coordinate with Tumwater to ensure that the boardwalk complies with design standards. The state will cover the cost of the construction.


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  • C K

    Of course, they want to increase fees. duh! enough IS enough. it's too much whatever and wherever they want to increase their extortion from our wallets. Hold them accountable personally and professionally for every cent they waste then I might be open to discussion. Until they learn we do not work for them.... Reduce government; restore freedom,

    Wednesday, September 14 Report this

  • JoeRogoski

    Does this mean the 'estuary' is a done deal? Did we the people vote on this? Did the city ignore the problems with the lake to ensure this outcome? I say FIX THE LAKE! It is beautiful.

    Thursday, September 15 Report this

  • WaHydro

    Not a Tumwater resident, but what do stormwater utility fees have to do with a project of this nature.

    Stormwater utility fees are typically assessed for a different purpose, but are not a catch-all for environmental projects.

    Thursday, September 15 Report this