Fidalgo Island Water System Transfer Q & A

The city of Anacortes is considering acquiring from Skagit PUD its water system serving Similk and Dewey Beach, Gibralter, Fidalgo Heights and Summit Park.

On March 5, 2020, Skagit PUD and the city of Anacortes held an informational open house to discuss the potential transfer of ownership and provide customers the opportunity to ask questions about how this might impact their water bill.

The following information was shared at the meeting and provides answers to frequently asked questions about the potential transfer.

System Background

The Fidalgo Island water system was established in 1956 when residents of several Similk Bay-area neighborhoods established Local Utility District No. 2 and asked Skagit PUD to build and operate the water system, to be funded by water rates. The system expanded in 1961 to include Gibralter and Dewey Beach.

The Fidalgo Island system currently serves 732 residential and commercial connections. Water is purchased through an interconnection with the city of Anacortes, with the source being the Skagit River in Mount Vernon. Water is filtered and chlorinated at the Anacortes water treatment plant on Riverbend Road.

Questions & Answers

Why is Skagit PUD considering transferring the Fidalgo Water System to the city of Anacortes?

Skagit PUD looks at this ownership transfer in terms of benefit to the community. There are geographical efficiencies that the city of Anacortes can provide. In the event of a water line break or other emergency, Anacortes is closer to respond. The cost of ownership is less for the city to run the system.

Transferring the Fidalgo Island system to the city will improve maintenance and emergency response times and result in economic and water service-related efficiencies in the continued operation, maintenance and improvement. This benefits Skagit PUD, Anacortes and the Fidalgo Island water system ratepayers.

How much will this cost?

This is a no-cost transfer of service area from Skagit PUD to the city of Anacortes. Anacortes and the PUD would share equally all costs and expenses related to necessary transfer documents.

Will my water change or taste different?

It’s the same water you’ve been drinking, so no changes in taste. The water is already filtered and chlorinated at the Anacortes water treatment plant in Mount Vernon with no fluoride added.

Will my bill change?

Your water bill would change from bi-monthly to monthly billing, and the bill will no longer be based on a tiered rate system.

How do water rates compare?
With the transfer, customers should see a small reduction in their overall water bill due to a slightly lower base and consumption rate.

Skagit PUD Customers (calculated monthly):
Base Rate: $32.38
Consumption Rate: $0.04534

For Out of Anacortes City Limit Customers:
Base Rate: $30.99
Consumption rate: $0.0344

For an average user (650 cubic feet per month):

    • Skagit PUD – The cost per gallon is $0.0201
    • Anacortes – The cost per gallon is $0.0109

(This rate is for a ‘5/8 x 3/4’ or ‘full 3/4’ meter.)

What will happen up until the transfer?

Skagit PUD would continue to provide meter reading, billing and revenue collection services until the transfer to Anacortes is completed. Skagit PUD will complete the improvements to the system that it's already committed to undertake.

What would happen after the transfer?

Customers will receive a new water meter. You will start to receive a bill from the city of Anacortes. We anticipate the pressure of the water to slightly increase due to system efficiencies. The wooden water reservoir would be taken out of service.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the transfer discussion was put hold on for several months following the March community meeting. However, we would like to re-visit the matter and provide customers with the opportunity to address the Anacortes City Council and Skagit PUD Commissioners with any concerns.

Customers can provide public comment at Skagit PUD Board of Commissioner meetings, which are held virtually via ZOOM Cloud Meetings. The next regular meetings are Tuesday, August 25 and September 8 at 4:30 p.m. Skagit PUD's Upcoming Events section on our home page has a link to join the online meeting. Comments can also be made via email to PUD@skagitpud.org.

The Anacortes City Council meets at 6 p.m. the first four Mondays of each month. Community comments for the council can be submitted at CityofAnacortes.org.