Sunnyside Residents See Double Digit Increase in Utility Taxes - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Sunnyside Residents See Double Digit Increase in Utility Taxes

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SUNNYSIDE, Wash.-- People in Sunnyside should brace for a big increase in their utility taxes.

The city council approved a double digit rate increase to help balance this year's budget.

The city faced a nearly two-million dollar budget deficit, so to help solve the problem council members voted to triple the utility tax, from 6% to 18%. A pretty substantial increase that totals $18 in taxes for someone who gets a $100 utility bill every month.

But that's not the only increase. Customers will also see a 3% hike in both water and sewer rates, and the Ambulance Utility Fee will double to about $8.

"If a tax increase is necessary for the betterment of the community, we as a community just got to suck it up and know that it's for the betterment of our town," Jose Salas said.

"Especially when we're just getting by right now. Times are tough, you know? Everything is going up. It's tough," said Eddie Lopez.

"The money is not spent economically. The people that are authorizing the expenditure of the money, it's not their money, they don't care," Randall Pritchett said.

The steep increases aren't all bad though. City Manager Frank Sweet says the hikes helped stave off the need for layoffs in the city.