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Hearing set on 15.5% rate hike

Tue., Sept. 25, 2007, midnight

Avista’s Washington ratepayers may comment during a public hearing on the company’s proposal to raise electricity rates an average of 15.5 percent.

For the typical homeowner, that’s an extra $10.07 per month, bumping bills to an average $69.21.

The hearing will begin at 5 p.m. on Oct. 2, in Spokane’s City Hall Council Chambers, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. It is sponsored by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, the state agency that rules on rate changes.

Avista filed the rate proposal last April along with a request to raise natural gas rates by 2.27 percent. The natural gas proposal would add $1.93 to the bill of an average customer, pushing monthly bills to about $90.74.

The gas rate proposal is separate from the company’s announcement last week that it seeks to lower the cost of natural gas to its Washington customers by 6 percent. Last week’s move was tied to the price of natural gas; the April request is tied to production and distribution.

The company would collect $55.6 million in new revenues if the three-person WUTC accepts the proposal.

The WUTC said it has received 62 public comments to date. All oppose Avista’s proposal.

People unable to attend the meeting yet interested in submitting comments on the rate proposal may mail correspondence to P.O. Box 47250, Olympia, WA 98504. Or, email comments to

Coeur d’Alene

Most houses see price decline

Housing prices are dropping in most areas of Kootenai County, according to a snapshot of the market provided by the Coeur d’Alene Multiple Listing Service.

Neighborhoods in Coeur d’Alene and Dalton experienced the sharpest decline, with the median sales price falling 7 percent – from $210,000 to $195,000, the most recent MLS figures showed.

The prices reflect the six-month period ending Aug. 31, compared to the same period for 2006.

In the Rathdrum/Twin Lakes area, the median sales price dropped nearly 6 percent to $175,000 during that period. In Hayden, prices dropped 1 percent to $239,750.

During the comparison period, prices in Post Falls rose 1 percent to $201,868.

Nearly 1,200 homes changed hands in Kootenai County from March to August, a drop of nearly 16 percent compared to the prior-year period.

Red Lion has deal near Disneyland

Red Lion Hotels Corp. plans to purchase and renovate a 314-room hotel near Disneyland.

Red Lion will acquire the Radisson Hotel Maingate in Anaheim, Calif., through a long-term lease that can be extended for up to 100 years, company officials said Monday. Red Lion plans to spend $10 million upgrading the hotel.

This is the first hotel acquisition in the Southern California market for Spokane-based Red Lion. The transaction is expected to close in mid-October.

The hotel is located on South Harbor Boulevard, adjacent to Disneyland Resort and the Anaheim Convention Center.

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