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Posts tagged: Spokane County commissioners

Problem for county pot growers

Spokane County commissioners may have thrown a wrench into the plans of some would-be marijuana growers hoping to set up in unincorporated parts of the county.

An interim zoning ordinance approved Monday says anyone growing recreational marijuana will have to be on at least eight acres, with plenty of space between the fields or buildings and the property lines. . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.


County, city at odds over tab fee increase

Spokane County commissioners are taking umbrage at something said by a Spokane city official.

What? You say we’ll have to be a bit more specific, because the county and city are almost always in a state of mutual umbrage?

OK, let’s start again: Last week’s comment by City Council President Joe Shogan that the county has been slow to respond to the idea of higher license tab fees does not sit well with the commissioners. They have fired back with an indignant letter, the text of which can be found inside the blog.

Last week, Shogan was quoted in an S-R news story about the council’s decision to pull a proposed $20 license tab fee from its weekly agenda. The city is looking at the fee hike as a way to avoid some layoffs.

Shogan said he’s been discussing a countywide tab increase for two or three years with the commissioners, but so far county leaders have balked at the idea.

They’ve been talking up a regional transportation benefit district for years (which would be a way to get a countywide tab fee increase) and asked the local jurisdictions to sign on, commissioners said in today’s letter.  But city officials have yet to put anything down on paper or adopt a resolution to do that.

Or to keep it in baseball lingo, we can’t balk if you can’t get to first base.

County shifts Fox funds, but says original plan was legal

Spokane County commissioners shifted the source of funding for the Fox Theater this week but their attorney insisted the original plan to take some money from the county’s share of the hotel-motel tax was legal.

Deputy Prosecutor Jim Emacio, the county’s chief civil attorney, said the county has provided money from that tax to the Fox or the Spokane Symphony off and on since 1985. The payments have ranged from $10,000 in the early years to a high of $22,000 in 1999.

Some members of the county’s Hotel-Motel Advisory Committee contended giving county money to the Fox was illegal during a meeting with County Board Chairman Todd Mielke on Monday.  “This is not the case,” Emacio said in a memo to commissioners. The legality of the payments had been reviewed.

The comments from committee members came during a meeting to set the 2010 budget for the county’s share of the hotel-motel tax. Commissioners had planned to spend $20,625 from that tax fund to the Fox for four years, and a similar amount from the Historic Preservation Fund. When committee members questioned giving money from the county’s share of the fund to the Fox, which primarily generates business for hotels and motels in the city of Spokane, Mielke said the board could rearrange the payments to take it all from historic preservation.

That’s what the board did on Tuesday, but Emacio told commissioners it wouldn’t be illegal to do it the other way. Determination of what project or entity gets money often depends on who is on the advisory committee, he said. “For example, at one time we had a member of the Symphony on the committee,” he said in the memo.

No business like snow business

Most of Spokane County may be thinking about such warm weather concerns as whether we fit into a bathing suit, whether the legs are so white they’ll blind bystanders or how to get  a decent campground site. But not the elected officials of Spokane Valley and Spokane County.

They are still engaged in a war of words over snow. Specifically, how will it be pushed off the streets of the City of Spokane Valley once it starts falling this winter. The answer:

No one is sure.

In January, the Spokane County commissioners notified the City of the Valley the county would not be plowing under its existing contract in the winter of ‘09-‘10. Valley officials’ reaction ranged from surprise to outrage to unprintable streams of invective which, if uttered outside, probably would have melted the snow and contributed to global warming.

County said the current contract allowed for cancellation with 180 days notice, and they were giving much more than that…

So now it’s almost June, and feelings apparently haven’t healed much….

County employees get early retirement push

Spokane County will offer an incentive to county employees who are eligible to retire but not yet 65 – help with medical insurance they’d have to pay until Medicare kicks in.

It’s one way the county will try to convince some higher paid employees to leave voluntarily now and reduce the number of layoffs it may need next year.

County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to offer payments of up to $20,000 over 42 months to special Health Retirement Accounts that would be set up for long-time employees who opt for early retirement.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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