Spokane residents likely will see an increase in their utility bills next year if the City Council goes along with proposed rate boosts.
The cost of garbage collection, sewage disposal and water would increase $2.87 each month for the average customer if suggested rates are approved. The proposal’s total tab for a year would be about $34.44.
Department heads for three city utilities - solid waste, water and wastewater - debuted their proposed 1998 spending plans to the council on Monday.
Gale Olrich, the acting director of planning and engineering services, pointed out the city’s utility rates are lower than those in comparable cities.
For the three services, the average Spokane resident would spend $40.98 a month - excluding state and city taxes - in 1998. In Seattle, the same services would cost $90.93.
In other 1998 budget news, residents who haul refuse to the incinerator won’t see an increase in tipping fees. And golfers won’t pay more in greens fees.
Also Monday, the council approved plans to spend $270,500 to rewrite the downtown comprehensive plan.
The city will spend up to $250,000 of that on a consulting contract with Moore, Iacofano, Goltsman Inc. of Berkeley, Calif., to compile economic data, develop a community outreach program and help the steering committee draft the plan.
Another $15,500 will go to the Downtown Spokane Partnership for administration as well as production of a newsletter on the plan. Computerized maps will cost $5,000.
The lump sum needed to rewrite the plan will come from two sources - $215,500 from the parking acquisition fund and $55,000 from a central business district tree maintenance fund.
The parking fund is comprised of revenues from the city-owned parking lot across from the convention center.
The tree maintenance fund is composed of dollars from a local improvement district where businesses taxed themselves to plant trees and buy benches and lighting.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: WHERE THE MONEY WOULD GO The proposed rate increases - and reasons for them - boil down to these: Wastewater. Increasing residential rates by $2 in 1998 and $2 in 1999. Instituting a $300 connection fee for every new residential unit. The proposed increases would be placed in a rate stabilization fund. All the money raised - about $1.5 million in 1998 and $3 million each year thereafter - would go toward federal and state mandated improvements and growth-related expansions of the wastewater treatment center, Olrich said. The residential rate increase and the connection fee would expire in 20 years. Solid waste. Increasing rates by 3.5 percent, bringing two-can collection costs up 60 cents, from $17.08 to $17.68. The rate hikes are necessary to offset union-negotiated wage hikes and expansions of the automated collection system, said Dennis Hein, department director. Water. Increasing rates by 3 percent, increasing the cost of an average bill by 27 cents, from $8.88 to $9.15. The increase will help pay for replacing aging water lines, said Brad Blegen, water department director.