Paying More For Water in Coeur d'Alene

By Tom Bacon

The cost of water is going up in Coeur d' Alene - both getting it and getting rid of it.

The city council has approved a rate increase of two-and-a-half percent, starting in March. The increase will rise to 4-point-9 percent in 2014 and hold steady until 2018.

Water usage up to 30-thousand gallons a month cost 72 cents for each thousand gallons until this year.  In Spokane, the equivalent cost is about 74 cents per thousand.

Council members also approved issuance of more than 33-and-a-half million dollars in revenue bonds to pay for upgrading Coeur d' Alene's wastewater treatment plant. That debt will be repaid through user and higher capitalization fees.  The improvements were ordered by the E-P-A to sharply reduce phosphorus levels in the river flowing down into Spokane.

Typical single-family new homes in Coeur d' Alene now pay just over 27-hundred dollars in hook-up fees, but that cost will jump to 33-hundred dollars. And commercial users will pay even more.

City wastewater superintendent Sid Fredrickson told council members he had warned them about a year ago that the fees might even double.
So the new schedule, he said is still - as he put it - a hard pill to swallow, but it's a lot less."

The capitalization fees are still subject to a public hearing. yet to be scheduled.
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