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Community Comment

TUESDAY, NOV. 2, 2010, 5:24 A.M.

Cringing in City Hall…

Good morning, Netizens...

According to Mayor Mary Verner speaking to the City Council last night, the grim realities of life in Spokane will be getting worse as the budget shortfall of 12 million dollars begins to hit home. City services may be cut including steep cuts to police, fire department and street departments. Mayor Verner was quick to blame the unions because they wouldn't agree to cuts in pay raises and changes to medical plans.

The Spokane Police Department will be hit the hardest of all, with 38 officers and 7 civilian positions all being cut plus additional demotions and other staff shuffling taking place to better deal with responding to emergency calls.

The Fire Department is the next on the hit list with 28 positions on the line. The reduction will mean the department will need to either close one fire station or reduce crew sizes from four to three personnel.

Additionally, 14 positions will be cut from the beleaguered street department under the proposed budget. Our streets have never been one of the City of Spokane's strong points, with potholes and a proven inability to do street maintenance always seeming to fall to the bottom of the priority lists. Ostensibly under the new-and-improved budget, street repair projects will require 1 supervisor instead of their typical complement of three for each job, thus it may take longer to perform routine tasks.

A library may be closed, or at least see its hours severely reduced. Community Centers that depend upon the City Parks Department may be reduced or even curtailed.

In short, if Mayor Verner's budget stands as proposed, any requests for service from the City of Spokane to its residents may take longer if they can be met at all. The unions that represent city employees will either need to agree to concessions with the City of Spokane or face the loss of jobs and, coincidentally, a steep loss of services to the public.


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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.