Spokane lawyer plans to file lawsuit against city

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SPOKANE, Wash. -A Spokane attorney says it's unfair for people who live outside the city water services to pay double for the same water, but the city says they're charging them a fair rate.

Attorney Bob Dunn says he plans on filing a tort claim notice with the city alleging they've been charging about 6,000 customers outside of Spokane 75-100 percent more fore water service.

"It's been going on over 10 years, we're probably talking about a $30 million claim. We're going to be seeking a new water rate, plus a refund of the illegal water service rates that we're being charged," Dunn said.

City Spokesperson Marlene Feist says Spokane classifies their customers in two classes: Inside and outside city limits. She says there are three reasons why outside customers pay more:

First, it costs the city more to deliver water outside city limits. Second, customers in the city pay property and other taxes that help pay for some of the water services while those who live outside don't. Finally, longtime customers have helped build and maintain the city water system while newcomers benefit, they also help pay for the costs as well.

"Overall, someone who's a water/wastewater customer for us, they're paying about 50 percent more," Feist said.

"This is not rocket science. In fact this is the kind of stuff that we learn in the 1st grade or the 2nd grade. Just be fair," said Dunn.

Once it's filed, the city will have 60 days to respond to the tort claim.

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