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In a city where middle-class homeowners and renters already struggle to cope with escalating property taxes and transportation costs, Seattle’s proposed utility-rate hikes are a slap in the face.

Fortunately, one council member is paying attention, but Lisa Herbold needs to engage all her colleagues and the mayor, because solutions will require reviewing a web of arrangements between Seattle Public Utilities and other city departments and regional agencies.

Why does my water bill include paying a utility tax to general city government, and must the tax rise when rates go up? Does my water bill pay for building parks on top of lidded reservoirs when Seattle just approved new funding for parks? Why doesn’t SPU charge connection fees to new development instead of spreading those costs to existing customers? Can the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency consent decree for combined sewer overflows be renegotiated, or can some Move Seattle projects be rescheduled to avert SPU rate hikes?

Discounts for low-income households are fine, but all Seattleites deserve a transparent, rational and affordable utility-rate plan.

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Margaret Pageler, Seattle