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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spin Control

Sewer rate increase postponed

Spokane County commissioners put a planned sewer rate increase on hold Tuesday evening, giving residents another week to offer written comments, and a week beyond that for them to chew on it. They're now talking about voting on the increase at their 2 p.m. meeting on July 7.

Sewer rate increases were on the agenda of the public hearing Tuesday, but despite the prospect of a jump of about $11.50 over the next three years, the villagers did not show up with torches and pitchforks.

Commissioners were inclined to hold off anyway, citing the need to review interest rates for 20- and 25-year bonds to pay for the new wastewater treatment plant.

Estimates from a month ago showed a 25-year bond issue could lower residential rates by $2 per month compared to a 20-year bond, but cost an extra $47 million over the life of the bonds, Commission Chairman Todd Mielke said.

“It’s in the county’s and the Valley’s interest to get the lowest possible interest rates,” he said.

The county is also negotiating an interlocal agreement with the city of Spokane Valley that shows the city’s support for the project and the county’s guarantee of service for the length of the bonds, and to create an advisory committee on rates. The two governments agree on the concepts, Mielke said.

Spokane Valley Mayor Rich Munson said the city and county are still discussing some aspects of the agreement, such as the agreement not to use any other source of wastewater treatment for the life of the bonds. It has discussed the possibility of using the city of Spokane’s treatment facility but believes that option “is not a good one.”

It is also concerned that the county cannot yet guarantee it will get a permit from the state to discharge treated water into the Spokane River. But city still believes the county is the best option and expects to reach an agreement.

“I don’t anticipate problems. I do anticipate discussions,” Munson said.

So there's still time for residents of the county and the city of Spokane Valley to tell commissioners what they think of paying more for sewer (hopefully without using potty mouth terms).

Got something to say? Go inside the blog for addresses.

Send an e-mail by going on the commissioners' Web site .

Or, for those who prefer to put pen to paper, paper in envelope, and envelope in mailbox, here's the street address:

Board of County Commissioners

1116 W. Broadway Avenue

Spokane, WA, 99260.


The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.