Spokane city councilman Jon Snyder says it’s time to revise the city’s water plan. He's concerned the city needs to carefully review requests to provide water for areas outside the city that have been added to the Urban Growth Area by the county.
Sndyer says he believes the city relies too much on its utility tax to generate revenue.
Snyder: “It generates a lot of money for mus ,but creates this addiction to ever expanding utility infrastructure, If the solution to our budget issues is to seel more and more water further out, that’s a really bad plan.”
Besides creating more sprawl, the city has to pay to get the infrastructure for sewer and water to new developments, as well as maintain it. Snyder says the city would do better to gain more revenue from property tax by trying to encourage “infill” development in areas already inside the city, like the Kendall Yards development, or the University district.
He says he would like to see the city’s water plan brought up to date where new developments outside the city are not guaranteed services like water and sewer just because they are added to the urban growth area.
Snyder: “The problem is for the city council when we have to approve additions to the water plan, it’s done on a one-off basis. We’re not able to look at the demands on our infrastructure system wide, like we do with our streets plan, our capital projects plan.”
Snyder says he would like to be able to ensure Spokane resident won’t see their utility rates increase, to subsidize water service to areas far from the city.
He says this week, it was discovered that the city had spent 7 million dollars building water pipe on the west plains ten years ago, that was never used.