Friday, March 19, 2010

Verner presses Legislature to pass water bill

Posted on Fri, Mar 19, 2010 at 1:58 PM

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner called on the Legislature today to pass legislation that would raise revenue for cities in their efforts to clean up storm water run off.

The bill she is championing, House Bill 3181, would increase hazardous-substance fees, which were established 20 years ago but haven't been raised since.

"These changes are necessary to assist residents across the state. At the City of Spokane alone, we need hundreds of millions of dollars in improvements," the mayor said in a statement. "That financial burden can’t be shouldered by our City residents alone. We’re asking the producers of products that pollute storm water to share in the costs of cleanup."---

The fees would be levied against substances that are known to pollute waterways, such as petroleum products and fertilizers.

Though the Legislature is in special session, the bill was reintroduced and retained, and is available for a floor vote. Rep. Timm Ormsby, a Spokane Democrat, introduced the bill specifically to help cities fund the cleanup of storm water run-off, a burden that has led Spokane to raise wastewater rates by 15 percent this year, the first of three such increases. 

"The City and the citizens are ready to do our part," Verner continued, "and we're asking the Legislature to support us in these efforts." 

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