City Adds Detail to Funding Proposal for Streets

Projects identified for first two years

Marlene Feist, Utilities Communications Manager, (509) 625-6505

Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 2:44 p.m.

The City of Spokane is continuing to add detail to a refinancing proposal to maintain and rebuild streets. The 20-year proposal is designed to provide significant new street work for the same amount of money citizens pay today for such repairs.

The levy will:

  • Focus on improving arterial streets, with the goal of completing some repair or maintenance work on all 266 miles of arterials during the 20 year life of the proposal.
  • Allow the City to double the amount it spend on residential street repair, by directing some dollars currently spent on arterials to residential areas.

On the arterials, work will include both significant repairs, including complete rehabilitation projects and maintenance, including grind and overlay work.

The City will prioritize work based on factors that include pavement condition, traffic volumes, economic development opportunities, pedestrian and bike plan priorities, transit needs, and safety/collision data. The City’s update to the transportation and utility chapter of the Comprehensive Plan, called Link Spokane, will finalize the criteria to evaluate projects.

Attached is a list of proposed projects the City anticipates during the first two years and maps showing project locations. Initially, some funding will be used to add components to projects that are already planned.

“We want to distribute the projects geographically and provide a mix of reconstruction and maintenance to bring up the quality of our entire arterial system,” says Mayor David Condon.

Citizens currently pay 57 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, or $57 a year on a $100,000 home, for repayment of the 2004 Street Bond. Payments are currently scheduled to continue for another 16 years without any additional street improvements.

With strategic refinancing, that same 57 cents per $1,000 of property value would provide an average of about $25 million annually for street funding, including matching dollars from City utilities and state and federal grants. The amounts grow over time.

Citizens will have another great opportunity to learn about the streets proposal, along with its companion refinancing proposal to pay for a rehabilitation of Riverfront Park, during a community conversation on the proposals planned for Thursday, June 26, at 6 p.m.

The City will host a simultaneous telephone town hall and traditional town hall discussion in the City Council Chambers in the lower level of City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. CityCable 5 also will cablecast the entire evening live, and citizens can follow along @SpokaneCity on Facebook and Twitter. Thousands of City residents will be contacted and invited to participate by phone. They can also opt in by calling 855.312.2107 (toll free).

The refinancing proposal for streets and Riverfront Park is another component of a strategy to align needs to resources while keeping services affordable to citizens. The City has compiled a list of infrastructure needs in a 6-year Citywide Capital Plan and is working on a comprehensive strategy to address the $732 million in needs. Other pieces include a realistic plan for utilities while limiting rate increases to inflation and the start of a much-needed replacement fund for police and fire vehicles.

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