Water Rates: Back To The Drawing Board | Home & Garden
The City of Spokane is going to reopen the discussion about water rates after "significant public concern about high summer watering bills." The city implemented a new, tiered-rate structure this year that charges increasing rates the more water you use.
It must have sounded good to city officials, but to citizens who recently received their summer water bills, well, not so much.
"We have had several hundred or more complaints from citizens who don't understand the rationale behind the amounts of their most recent water bills," says Council President Joe Shogan.
He's filed a new proposed water rate ordinance, and says he's willing to work with Mayor Mary Verner on other water rate proposals. Verner was recently challenged on the issue by mayoral candidate David Condin, and admitted the plan needs a second look.
The tiered water rate plan was designed to reduce water consumption in the city, but according to a study by the Washington Policy Center, Spokane's water usage has already been declining for the past decade. The study also pointed out that salaries and benefits for water department employees has increased 34% over the past 5 years. The Spokesman-Review has also been critical of the tiered plan. And, naturally, there's a Facebook group calling for change.
Shogun says he hopes to have a "vigorous debate about this issue," with the goal of having a new plan in place by Jan. 1, 2012.