Archive for February 2014
Don't be surprised if you see Spokane Valley boasting about the abundance of free parking in future advertisements and other marketing materials.
City leaders, pleased with the response they've received from the “Friendliest Permitting in Washington” marketing campaign, are looking to broaden community promotion efforts.The next step likely will be to expand the economic development push to a regional audience in hopes of improving business recruitment.
But council members also discussed the possibility of introducing new themes that some might construe as a way of differentiating the suburban Spokane Valley from nearby Spokane, the state's second-largest city.
“Can we add something about good roads and free parking,” Deputy Mayor Arne Woodard asked.
Other council members quickly endorsed the idea, though no budget for the effort was mentioned. The current promotion is part of a $200,000 marketing effort.
Spokane Valley's city leaders are meeting in a daylong workshop today to set goals and priorities for the year ahead and figure out how to run a growing community with tax revenue that has yet to return to 2007 levels.
Among the topics on the agenda is police staffing, potential city hall relocation and economic development. The workshop session can be viewed by webcast on the city's homepage.
Key to the challenges is tax revenue to pay for the growing community's services. The city council is controlled by anti-tax conservatives who contend the best way to rebuild the city's treasury is through fostering greater economic development, which they believe will pay off over time.
The city's discretionary spending account, known as the general fund, is $36.8 million for the current year. It was $37.1 million in 2007, which was before the housing bubble burst and the national economy tanked. It fell to as low as $35.2 million in 2009.
With smart phones and tablet computers making it easier than ever to stay in touch, the City of Spokane Valley is considering a texting ban for council members while in public meetings.
It hasn't been a problem in Spokane Valley, officials say, but other cities have had problems with their council members being lobbied or provided information privately by text message or email during public meetings. The proposed change to the city's governance manual was described as a way of staying ahead of potential issues that could arise in the future.
“If someone has something to say to us, let them come forward and say it,” said Councilman Ed Pace, explaining the entire council and the public should have the benefit of the information being shared. Moreover, if the messages are being used by council members to help them make a decision, they need to be preserved as part of the public record.
The proposed ban on electronic messages would apply only during city council meetings.
Increasing numbers of cities have begun exploring bans and restrictions on council member texting during meetings.
The proposal was unveiled tonight and is expected to be considered later this month.
Spokane Valley residents are being reminded that it’s their responsibility to shovel snow from sidewalks adjacent to their property.
The city says local ordinances require that sidewalks be clear of snow and ice within a reasonable amount of time, and violators could face $500 fines.
The goal is to make sure that school children and others have safe places to walk during the winter rather than competing with cars and trucks for space on roadways.