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Washington Voices

Valley Fire Pumped Up For City

The incorporation bandwagon is starting to fill.

Spokane Valley Fire District commissioners voted unanimously this week to endorse the incorporation proposition.

They joined Carnhope Irrigation District No. 7 and the 4th District Republican Action Club in throwing support behind the effort to form a city in the Valley.

An election is scheduled for May 16.

Fire commissioners said in a statement that they were supporting the proposed city to “stop the ‘piece meal’ annexations by the city of Spokane.”

Commissioners contend that Spokane is eroding the district’s tax base by nibbling away property in the unincorporated Yardley industrial area at the west end of the Valley.

Fire commissioners have said that a request by Spokane officials to have Yardley excluded from the proposed city’s boundaries makes it clear that those annexations will likely continue.

“These ‘piece meal’ annexations result in significant losses in revenue when totaled,” the statement said.

Chief Pat Humphries said in an interview that the district gets nearly $775,000 a year in property taxes, about 9 percent of its $9 million annual budget, from the Yardley area.

“It’s a revenue issue for us. It’s not a turf issue,” the chief said.

Leaders of the incorporation movement have said they intend for the new city to annex to the Spokane Valley Fire District. The new city council would have to make that decision, although it appears likely.

Valley fire commissioners endorsed incorporation last year as well, much for the same reasons.

Residents voted down that proposition, as well as one in 1990.

The money trail

Incorporation fund-raisers aren’t exactly tearing it up.

Records filed with the county elections department show the group has raised just over $6,100 as of this week.

At the beginning of the campaign, Citizens for Valley Incorporation cochairman Joe McKinnon said he hoped to raised as much as $50,000.

The group will have to hustle over the next five weeks if it hopes to reach that goal.

Raymond Hanson, who is in charge of fund-raising, is doing what he can for the cause.

Hanson’s heavy equipment manufacturing company, R.A. Hanson Co. Inc., which is located in the Mead area, has donated $1,000 to the incorporation coffers.

Hanson, who lives at Liberty Lake, owns considerable land inside the proposed city.

Meeting update

Incorporation leaders have scheduled two town hall meetings next week to answer questions and solicit comments on their proposal.

The first meeting will be held Monday at Bowdish Junior High School, 2109 S. Skipworth.

The second will be on Tuesday at Greenacres Junior High, 17409 E. Sprague.

Both begin at 7 p.m.