April 18, 2024 9:22 am

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Op-Ed: Mukilteo’s step towards a new sustainable future

Louis Harris
Louis Harris

As the President of the Mukilteo City Council, and a millennial deeply committed to effecting real change in the battle against climate change, I am excited to share a significant update from our city’s legislative chamber.

On February 6, 2024, the Mukilteo City Council took a step forward by revising our city’s master fee schedule for building and permit fees, specifically eliminating the fixture fee for new installations of solar panels and heat pump systems in Mukilteo homes.

This initiative was born from a critical examination of the 2024 Master Fee Schedule, an important document that sets the prices for many city-related services and functions. After engaging in discussions during our January 9th work session, we identified an opportunity to positively contribute to our city’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gases. Through the adoption of our amended fee schedule, we aim not only to promote the integration of responsible solutions but also to position Mukilteo as a leader in local innovation in the fight against climate change.

Previously, the installation of heat pumps involved a $120 base fee for mechanical permits, a $15 fixture fee, and an additional $6.50 state-required tax. To encourage our community towards more sustainable energy choices, we have now removed the fixture fee, making it more cost-effective for our residents to adopt such technologies. Additionally, we eliminated the proposed increase to over $300 for the installation of solar panels, setting the permit fee at $0. It’s important to note that none of the permitting and inspection requirements have changed; only some of the local fees that we historically charged have been eliminated. You are still required to obtain a permit for most improvements on your home, and there is no charge for inspections on these systems.

Furthermore, while the City of Mukilteo itself does not directly partner with the Snohomish County Public Utility District (PUD), it is heartening to see that there are existing incentives and support systems in place for our residents interested in making the switch to sustainable systems. The PUD offers substantial rebates for the installation of ducted heat pumps, potentially up to $2,500, and provides valuable information for those considering solar panel systems, including details on net metering and federal tax credits. These initiatives, although independent of city policies, complement our efforts by providing additional resources and support for our community’s transition to cleaner energy solutions.

Our decision to adjust the fee schedule is more than an administrative change; it reflects our collective commitment to a sustainable and thriving future. The challenges posed by climate change require action on all fronts, and by facilitating easier access to renewable energy technologies and sustainable systems, we are taking a vital step in the right direction.

I am incredibly proud of our community’s willingness to embrace such transformative initiatives. This move is not just about Mukilteo; it’s a model of how local governance can play a pivotal role in addressing broader environmental challenges. It signifies our readiness to lead, innovate, and support each other in the pursuit of sustainability.

Let’s continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible, encourage sustainable living, and support initiatives that lead us towards a more resilient and environmentally conscious community. Together, we are making Mukilteo a shining example of how cities can contribute to a more sustainable planet.

Louis Harris, City Council President, Mukilteo

DISCLAIMER: The views and comments expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the Lynnwood Times nor any of its affiliates.


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