With just more than two weeks until the election, a group is challenging efforts to form a city in the Spokane Valley.
Nearly 30 Valley residents and business owners formed a committee called Concerned Citizens Against Valley Incorporation to get out “the other side of this,” Chairman Dick Denenny said Friday.
The group formed because there are too many unknowns about the impacts of forming a new city, Denenny said.
A leader of the incorporation movement said he isn’t surprised that opposition formed and called the groups claims unfounded.
Citizens Against members think incorporation would be bad for the Valley and the rest of the county, said Denenny, 47, a Spokane native and 19-year Valley resident.
County residents should be working together to solve the problems of local government, not creating another layer of it, he said.
“I don’t think anything is resolved by taking your ball and going to your own court,” Denenny said. “Dividing it, segmenting it, gerrymandering it is not the way to resolve it. Divisiveness creates strife.”
Denenny said an incorporation vote, scheduled for May 16, should be postponed until county residents have a chance to review a charter being proposed by county freeholders.
County voters elected the freeholders two years ago to analyze local government and recommend changes. They are expected to release their findings and a proposal to combine Spokane city and county governments into one unit later this year.
“I think it’s really wrong to step into the middle of that process,” Denenny said.
He also said Citizens Against members aren’t convinced taxes won’t increase under a new city, a claim touted by incorporation backers.
Joe McKinnon, co-chairman of Citizens for Valley Incorporation, said opposition may help the incorporation effort, the third such try since 1990.
“It probably will serve us well because it will energize our campaigners and open up the money,” McKinnon said. “This will be our reality check.”
He discounted the claims of Citizens Against, saying it is the rhetoric historically used by opponents.
“That’s all easy to say,” McKinnon said, “but prove it.”
Denenny countered that incorporation supporters haven’t proven their arguments, especially regarding budget issues. “There are many, many unknowns regarding incorporation,” he said.
MEMO: Concerned Citizens Against Valley Incorporation has set up a telephone number and post office box for people interested in more information. The telephone number is 926-1709. Letters can be sent to P.O. Box 14001, Spokane, Wash., 99214.