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Fairfield OKs utility tax

The Fairfield City Council recently approved a 6 percent utility tax on all residents of the small town south of Spokane Valley.

In the short term the money is needed to provide matching funds for a grant received from the Transportation Improvement Board to rehabilitate Main Street. In future years the town will use the income to purchase a new well generator and repair or replace street equipment.

The tax should generate about $37,000 a year. It would add an additional $4.50 to a $75 electric bill and $12 to a $200 bill. Residents should see the tax on their monthly Avista bills in July, said Mayor Ed Huber.

The council voted unanimously to approve the tax, Huber said. A public hearing was held in February and most of those who spoke seemed resigned to the need for the new tax. “After that public hearing we didn’t get any further public comment from the public for or against it,” Huber said.

Included in the ordinance the council approved is a requirement that the tax be reviewed because they wanted to make sure “it isn’t just something that gets forgotten about,” Huber said.

“We will review it annually at budget time to make sure the need is still there,” he said. “If we ever get to where we feel we need to be, we’ll either re-identify goals for the funding or reduce or eliminate the tax.”