Dreams Of A Water Utility Dry Up In Shoreline | KUOW News and Information

Dreams Of A Water Utility Dry Up In Shoreline

Nov 19, 2015

Most cities want to control their own destiny. Shoreline, just north of Seattle, is no exception. But now a deal it hoped would help distinguish it from Seattle has fallen apart.

Right now, Shoreline’s residents and businesses depend on Seattle to supply its water, along with pipes and maintenance.

It’s an arrangement left over from the time the community was part of unincorporated King County. But Shoreline has been a city for 20 years, and it has wanted to lure new businesses over its boundary with Seattle at Northeast 145th Street with the possibility of competitive water rates and newer pipes. The water would still have been from Seattle’s supply, purchased at wholesale rates.

The two cities agreed on a price of $26.6 million, and Shoreline’s voters blessed the deal, which then collapsed.

“We’re obviously disappointed with it. They know that we’re disappointed,” said Debbie Tarry, Shoreline’s city manager.

Seattle says it learned later on about the real cost of losing Shoreline’s water customers.

“The price became a bit too high,” said Judi Gladstone, corporate policy director for Seattle Public Utilities. She said losing Shoreline would cost Seattle and its ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

“It was so impractical and so unreasonable,” she said.

Shoreline said it tried to negotiate with Seattle, but this week it finally told residents that the pipes leading to their homes would be Seattle’s for the foreseeable future.

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