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Cheney council considers changing assessments of electrical rates

Two proposed ordinances would give council more latitude in what city charges for services


The Cheney City Council is taking up consideration of a pair of proposed changes to ordinances that determine how the city goes about assessing electrical rates, fees and charges.

At its last regular meeting of the month, July 22, the council in a 6-0 vote, Councilman Bob Stockton was absent, approved the first reading of ordinances W-42 and W-43 that, if adopted, would amend the Cheney Municipal Code Chapter 14, “Electricity.” The readings were in “title and summary form only;” meaning the proposals are still open to public comment.

The largest change in both ordinances is substituting language allowing the City Council to establish specific fees, charges and rate amounts via resolution. For instance, under W-43, language in section 14.08.040 “Rates for new extensions and installations — above ground services” would change from a $100 minimum charge to customers wishing to install a new primary or secondary service to “as established by resolution of the City Council.”

Light Department director Joe Noland told the council the proposed ordinances are similar to what was done regarding utility rates, charges and fees in Public Works. By holding the first readings only, Noland will now bring the electricity goods and services proposals to committee for input.

In resolutions, the council unanimously approved a $40,279 contract with Water Recovery Resources (WRS) for rehabilitation of the city’s Well Three project.

Public Works director Todd Ableman said the well on Erie Street, originally dug in the 1960s, has seen its water production drop from an original 900 gallons per minute to now around 100 gpm.

“A lot of well rehab involves mechanical work,” Ableman said. “With Well Three, we’re looking at an actual rehab of the well itself.”

According to WRS’s bid, $26,360 of the total cost of rehabilitation involves application of “Aqua Freed CO2” treatment. In an article on, the process is described as “acting on the formation and encrustants in the wells through gas expansion and freezing and thawing, which dislodges deposits, and also through the formation of carbonic acid, acting under pressure.”

The procedure is performed in four steps: injection of gaseous CO2 to form carbonic acid, injection of cryogenic liquid CO2 which begins agitation and freezing, allowing penetration time for formation and reaction and followed by removing packer and thaw along with venting and depressurization. Mechanical redevelopment is also included.

Council also approved a resolution amending charges to provide electrical power to Inland Power and Light from the city’s main substation. The charges were part of an agreement established when Cheney bought the substation from Bonneville Power Administration in 2003, and reflect changes in rates charged to Cheney from BPA.

The agreement increases Inland Power’s price to $1.39 per kilowatt-hour per month. Noland said the increase would help defer some of the costs of operating the substation.

“This has been a good property for us,” Mayor Tom Trulove said. “We’re making some money on it.”

Finally, the council approved an agreement with Spokane County to receive $113,239 in Community Development Block Grant funding to pay for the city’s water main replacement project on North Sixth Street between Nolan Brown and Annie Place, work that commenced last week.

John McCallum can be reached at


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