Spokane’s City Council last week approved a 20-year agreement forged between its utilities, finance, and business and developer services departments. According to the Spokesman-Review, the utilities department will pay $5 million every year into the city’s arterial street fund for its use of street property for utility projects through 2035.

Those projects include updating the system of pipes that deliver water and wastewater to and from homes and businesses and installing infrastructure for storm gardens, pervious pavement and other design elements that help prevent polluted water from entering the river.

Under a mandate from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the city has until the end of 2017 to stop virtually all pollutants from entering the waterway.

Utilities Director Rick Romero said the $5 million would come out of his department’s rates, reserves and debt.

Council President Ben Stuckart said the agreement for use of streets is the latest step in citywide integration of project planning.

“If you’re going in to replace a water main, you should replace that street at the same time,” he told the Spokesman-Review. “That way, you’re not going back two years later to dig it up and replace the street.”

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