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City strives for affordable, predictable utility rates

Marlene Feist, Utilities Director of Strategic Development


Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 2:28 p.m.
wastewater-treatment-plant/

Each day, our citizens rely on the City of Spokane to provide basic utility services, including providing clean drinking water, processing wastewater, and picking up garbage and recyclables. The City strives to provide excellent utility services while focusing on affordable and predictable rates.

For 2017, City utility customers will see a 2.9 percent increase in their monthly bills, which is equal to the average cost of inflation over the last 25 years. The Mayor and Council have committed to limiting utility rate increases to average inflation, and in 2014, they approved three years’ worth of increases at that inflationary rate for 2015, 2016, and 2017. They will review rates in 2017 for future years.

The average monthly bill for a residential customer who lives in the City in 2017 will be $120.62, an increase of about $3.38. The chart below includes a closer look at the components of the bill. The integrated capital charge pays for capital infrastructure projects in areas of water, wastewater and stormwater.

Average Monthly Utility Bill – In-City Residential Customer

Service Base Charge Consumption Capital TOTALS
68-gallon Garbage Cart $30.09     $30.09
Wastewater $29.71     $29.71
Water $15.80 $12.95*   $28.75
Stormwater $4.18     $4.18
Integrated Capital     $27.89 $27.89
TOTAL       $120.62

*Assumes 15,000 gallons of water usage.

Commercial and business customers will see the same 2.9 percent increase, but their bills are structured somewhat differently, based on the size of their water service line and other factors.

In the last five years, the City has worked in other ways to make bills more affordable and predictable for customers. The City:

  • Changed its water rate structure in 2012, eliminating particularly high summer watering bills for many residents.
  • Began billing customers for water use every month from every other month, allowing customers to more effectively budget for their city utility costs.
  • Added a new wastewater bill discount for customers who use less water. The lowest 20 percent of residential water users now receive an annual $60 credit, and additional discounts for multi-family residences have been added.
  • Implemented single-stream recycling, which has allowed many solid waste customers to recycle more and downsize their garbage cart. A smaller cart costs less each month.

More information on 2017 City utility rates, including out-of-city residential rates, is found on the City’s web site.

Tags

  • budget
  • credit
  • integrated capital
  • solid waste
  • stormwater
  • utility bills
  • utility rates
  • wastewater
  • water

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