Seattle Public Utilities Director Ray Hoffman is stepping down July 29 after more than seven years on the job.

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The director of one of Seattle’s largest city agencies is stepping down after more than seven years on the job, Mayor Ed Murray said Thursday.

Ray Hoffman has led Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) since 2009, supervising a roughly $1 billion annual budget and more than 1,400 employees.

The agency delivers drinking water to 1.4 million customers in and surrounding Seattle and provides wastewater, drainage and solid-waste services in the city.

Hoffman’s departure is somewhat of a surprise. He will turn 60 this summer and has worked in various public-utilities roles for Seattle since the 1990s.

“Ray’s steady and forward-thinking leadership as SPU director has been invaluable to the utility customers of Seattle and to the natural environs we strive to protect,” Murray said in a statement. “I thank him for his 26 years of service and wish him well on the next leg of his journey.”

Murray praised Hoffman’s contribution generally to the city’s conservation and recycling efforts and specifically for his work on protecting wildlife in the Cedar River Watershed and on cleaning up the polluted Duwamish Waterway.

During his tenure, Hoffman has led SPU in coping with an employee bill-fixing scandal, water shortages and, most recently, a judge striking down the city’s garbage-check ordinance.

A news release from the mayor’s office said Hoffman is retiring. But his career isn’t over, Hoffman said in an email to SPU staff Thursday. He plans to move on to another job after taking time off to bike and be with his family, he said in the email.

SPU spokesman Andy Ryan said Hoffman would not be giving interviews about his decision to leave city government.

Hoffman’s departure comes as SPU and Seattle City Light officials work to meet a fall deadline for the launch of a complex new billing system for utilities customers.

That project is a year late and at least $34 million over budget, officials acknowledged in March. In March, the City Council confirmed Larry Weis as City Light’s new general manager.

Murray said his office will, in the coming weeks, determine a process to select a new SPU director. Hoffman’s last day will be July 29, he told staff. He earned about $200,000 last year.