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Posts tagged: Spokane mayor

Spokane buys warehouse for police evidence

Mayor Mary Verner won unanimous support Monday for her plan to buy a police evidence warehouse and an office building by borrowing from the city’s main investment fund. The council approved the purchases of the Gardner Building, 1427 W. Gardner, for $1.8 million and the Great Floor warehouse, 4010 E. Alki Ave., for $2.8 million.

Last year, voters rejected a bond proposal that would have included $11.5 million to build a new evidence building. Under the new plan, the city will spend $2.8 million to buy the warehouse and $600,000 to upgrade it. Verner said Monday that she’s hopeful the new evidence building will be functional by the end of the summer.

Under the plan, the city will repay its investment fund with savings from vacating leased space, including offices at the Monroe Court, a building owned by Dr. Marcus DeWood. DeWood has lobbied against the plan and criticized the city’s financial analysis of the deal. Verner asked another well-known Spokane developer, Mark Pinch, to speak about the plan. Pinch told the City Council that the proposal was sound.

United Way official chosen to serve on Spokane’s library board

A United Way official will join the Spokane Public Library Board of Trustees in time to decide how to deal with major budget cuts proposed by Mayor Mary Verner.

The Spokane City Council on Tuesday unanimously appointed Janice Marich, the vice president of community relations for Spokane County United Way, to the city’s library board for a five-year term.

Marich, 62, said in an interview Tuesday evening that she is open to “all the options” for solving the budget problem.

“What’s really important to me is keeping the resources available to as many people as possible,” said Marich, whose mother worked as a librarian in McKinleyville, Calif.

The five-member board sets library policy and determines how to spend money set aside for libraries by the City Council. Marich was nominated for the job by Verner.

Although use of the city’s libraries continues to increase, Verner announced last month her intention to cut the library budget twice as much as the 2.85 percent cut she proposed in most city departments.

18 months before Election Day, Mary Verner officially begins bid for second term

Mary Verner is seven months away from achieving what some might consider a sad milestone: Only three years into her term, she will become Spokane’s longest serving mayor since voters approved the strong mayor system.

On Thursday, Verner officially began her quest to dislodge another Spokane mayoral curse. She hopes to become the city’s first reelected mayor since David Rodgers won a second term in 1973.

Illness, scandal, a lack of union support, River Park Square and neighborhood turmoil have worked against any mayor serving more than four years since Rodgers left office. And since Spokane mayors became strong mayors a decade ago, no mayor has even served a full four-year term.

Verner held a $40-a-plate breakfast Thursday to kick off her 2011 reelection bid.

While her “kick-off” event is Friday, her first reelection fund-raising event was in October — more than two years from Election Day.

She’s raised $8,000 so far, some from the same Democratic, union and neighborhood sources she won backing from in 2007. The Spokane Firefighters’ Union gave $450. Water attorney Rachael Pascal-Osborn gave $100. Neighborhood leader Mel Silva gave $50.

But she also has the support of Avista, which backed her opponent, Dennis Hession, in the 2007 race. Avista, which often contributes to incumbents, gave her campaign $500. And she even got $100 from Republican county commission candidate Steve Salvatori. (There’s no donation as of yet reported from Democratic County Commissioner Bonnie Mager, who gave $100 to Verner’s 2007 bid.)

Other contributors include city hall administrators Sheila Collins and Karen Stratton, as well as Scott Staab, husband of Tracy Staab, who was appointed by Verner to the city’s Municipal Court bench, and Kim Danek, wife of Ted Danek, who serves as Verner’s city administrator.

She also has support from one of her one-term predecessors: Sheri Barnard gave $20.

(Photo above is from Verner’s 2007 election victory party.)

Verner says she won’t ask for tax increases to deal with 2011 deficit

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner says she’s not considering new taxes to bail the city out of its $10 million hole for 2011.

City leaders are getting an early start to the budget for the second year in a row and will present a preliminary budget plan to City Council by early May, Verner said in an interview this week. She said she is asking all departments to take an across-the-board cut of nearly 3 percent that will save $3.5 million and will unveil a plan in the coming weeks that will deal with the remeaining $6.5 million hole.

“Our work force will shrink this time around. There’s no way around it,” Verner said. “This year, there will be impact on services,”

Verner has ruled out raising utility taxes and says she doesn’t plan to ask voters for higher property taxes through a levy lid lift. That was part of Mayor Jim West’s strategy to help deal with significant deficits in 2005.

“I’m not counting on any increased on-going source of revenue,” Verner said. “One reason that I’m not counting on them is …  I don’t know if they’re going to be viable in this economic climate.”

Vote now: The top news at Spokane City Hall in 2009

Whatever you think of the outcomes, Spokane city leaders have tackled several issues that could shape the city for decades to come. What do you think was the most important news at City Hall in 2009?

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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.

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