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City briefs

Public hearing for Shorewood subdivision July 16

A public hearing regarding the subdivision of the Shorewood Heights Apartments will take place next Wednesday, July 16, at 7:30 p.m. at city hall.

The property owners, Security Properties, Inc., plan to construct 124 new condos and town homes already approved by the city’s design commission. In order to sell the new units in the future, the owners plan to subdivide the 44-acre property into four separate lots. The largest lots would retain the current apartment buildings while the new structures would be built on the new lots.

Last summer, the planning commission denied a variance to skip the required City Council approval of large subdivisions. City codes require subdivisions of property over five acres to get Council approval.

The city issued a Mitigation Determination of Non-Significance with six conditions for the subdivision of the property into four lots on June 25 last year during that proposal.

Other than the public hearing on Wednesday, the public comment period for this proposal has expired. The city held accepted written comments for this proposal from Nov. 13 to Nov. 27 last year.

76th Avenue S.E. construction update

Driveways and road closures along 76th Avenue S.E. in the Town Center will take place next week as the final phase of repaving the roadway takes place. The city has been resurfacing 76th Avenue from S.E. 27th to 30th Street in recent weeks. Construction closures last week prepared the area for the work to take place next week. The city does not plan to close the road this week, but the work getting done will add new sidewalks, curbs and two rock walls.

Contact the city’s street engineer, Clint Morris, with any questions or concerns at 275-7807 or clint.morris@mercergov.org.

Puget Sound Energy reaffirms need for merger

In a testimony filed on July 2 with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC), which is reviewing the proposed merger announced in October 2007, the Puget Holdings investors reaffirmed their financial support of PSE’s $5 billion capital program ($1 billion annually over the next five years) to meet the critical energy, environmental and economic needs of the region, and outlined additional commitments that will protect and benefit customers.

“We have a group of patient investors who have listened and take seriously the issues raised by the interested parties in the merger case,” said Stephen P. Reynolds, chairman, president and CEO for PSE and Puget Energy.

The UTC is expected to issue a decision on the merger, which has already been approved by both the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and shareholders, in September 2008.

PSE rates

Along with the merger, Puget Sound Energy has lowered its rate increase request.

The Washington State Attorney General office or Public Council, the government arm that represents rate payers in public utility rate cases, made a recommendation against the proposed merger and said that the level or rates proposed by the utility in the on-going rate case should be cut.

PSE filed its original rate case in December with a request to raise electricity rates by a total of $174.8 million a year and gas rates by $56.7 million.

In April, it revised both of those slightly upward to $179.6 million on the electric side and $58 million for gas customers.

In the latest filing, the utility proposes an overall electric rate increase of $165.2 million a year, which translates to a 9 percent increase over current rates. For gas customers it is seeking an extra $55.5 million, a 5.2 percent rate increase.

The WUTC must issue its ruling on the rate case by Nov. 3.

Trash rates up

On July 1, Allied Waste of Bellevue, the business responsible for picking up garbage, yard waste and recycling on Mercer Island, raised its rates for service by 3.2 percent. The amount, approved by the city, varies according to the level of service purchased by each individual customer. This is the ____ time that Allied has raised its rates over the past ___ years. In its letter to customers dated June 1, Allied attributes its need to increase rates to “normal inflationary operating costs.”

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