Monday, November 14, 2016

Utility Tax to Fix Roads Not Popular With Spokane Valley Residents

A proposed utility tax to repair roads in Spokane Valley is off the table- for now. According to the Spokane Valley News Herald, the 6-percent utility tax would have replaced an existing 6-percent telephone tax earmarked for road maintenance in the city. Public outcry scrapped the idea though and put the idea on hold.

At a hearing last week, Spokane Valley residents spoke out against the tax that would be levied against power usage, water, natural gas, garbage and sewer use. Among other issues, they cited the hardship the tax would put on low income people and how utilities aren't something people can cut back on if tight on money.

The tax would generate over $7 million a year to cover the nearly $6.5 million that is the projected need to maintain roadways. The existing phone tax only generates about $2.3 million because more people are getting rid of landlines and using only cell phones.

While the tax idea has been shelved for now, City Council members aren't done looking for a source for that revenue. They meet with utility officials this week to discuss a tax possibility and plan to work with the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce on potential ideas.

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About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.