City offers new monthly utility credit for qualifying residents

SPOKANE, Wash. - The City of Spokane is now accepting applications from its water, sewer, and solid waste utility customers who qualify for a new monthly credit designed to assist low-income seniors and disabled individuals.

Approved applications will see the credit on their bills starting in January.

“The goal of the new credit is to help maintain affordability of City utility services for our most vulnerable customers,” says Scott Simmons, the City’s Public Works Director. “These are critical services that our citizens need.”

The new credit is available to low-income seniors and disabled persons who qualify for State of Washington property tax exemptions granted through Spokane County.

More than 4,000 city utility customers would likely be eligible for the credit.

More information on the property tax exemption is available on Spokane County's website.

For most qualified individuals, the City utility credit amounts to $10 a month. A third of the amount will be credited toward each of the three main utility services: water, sewer, and solid waste. The credit is pro-rated for customers with only one or two City utility services.

Customers can apply for the program by filling out a form online on the City’s website or by calling the City at 3-1-1 for assistance. Customers should have their City utility bill account number handy to apply.

The credit program was approved this summer as part of the City’s adoption of utility rates for 2018, 2019, and 2020. For 2018, a typical residential customer’s City utility bill would increase by $3.47 a month, with similar increases for 2019 and 2020. That means the credit will nearly equal the total cost of the increases for a typical bill during that time.

The new credit complements the City’s U-Help program along with the waste-water credit program for low water users and lower rates for multi-family units. The U-Help program provides low-income households with annual, one-time emergency assistance to help pay for their City utility bills.

In 2015, the City established a waste-water credit of $5 a month that benefits the 20 percent of customers who use the least amount of water indoors. In 2016 and 2017, the City increased the per-unit discount for waste-water services in multi-family residences.