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County appeal seeks unpaid tax on garage

Fri., April 7, 2006

River Park Square issues are headed back to court.

Spokane County commissioners voted Thursday to appeal a recent decision from a Whitman County Superior Court judge that said property taxes did not have to be paid on the downtown parking garage.

The tax bill of the garage has been disputed since shortly after the mall and garage opened in 1999. Project budgets assumed the garage was exempt from property tax because it was supposed to become city property after bonds were repaid in 20 years. The mall development companies involved in the deal are affiliates of Cowles Co., which also owns The Spokesman-Review.

The city transferred ownership of the garage to the mall developer last year as part of a settlement of lawsuits. In that deal, the city agreed to be responsible for any owed property taxes.

The county contends that about $1 million in taxes should have been paid for 2000 through 2004. The county has added interest and penalties of about $600,000 and continues to add about $10,000 a month to the bill.

– Jonathan Brunt

Police will focus on pedestrian safety

Pedestrians mind your step. Drivers watch the road. Today is the first day of Spokane’s “Pedestrian Safety & Traffic Awareness Week.”

Police will be conducting emphasis patrols to look out for unsafe driving and walking behavior, and neighborhoods will be posting signs to emphasize the importance of obeying the speed limit.

Since 2000, 22 pedestrians have been killed in traffic crashes, and police have responded to 844 pedestrian-vehicle collisions.

People can purchase “Neighbors drive 25,” “20 is Plenty” and “Heed the Speed 30” yard signs for $10 at Spokane’s Office of Neighborhood Services at Spokane City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.

In addition, free child seat checks will be offered from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center. For more information, call (509) 324-1530.

– Amy Cannata

Post Falls

Driver tells police she hit teenager on I-90

A Rathdrum woman told police she hit a teenaged boy while driving on Interstate 90 around 9 p.m. Wednesday. But authorities have not found an injured person or a body.

“We have no reason to disbelieve her,” Idaho State Police Capt. Wayne Longo said Thursday.

Katherine Broughton said she was heading west on I-90 through Post Falls when the boy ran across the freeway and was struck by her car, Longo said.

She told police the teen, dressed in a gray T-shirt and black pants, ran off. A side mirror on her car was damaged.

Broughton pulled over and called police. She has been cooperative with investigators, and she wasn’t impaired in any way, Longo said. Four state troopers and some Post Falls police officers spent nearly an hour looking for a victim.

Kootenai Medical Center did not have anyone seeking treatment for injuries consistent with an auto accident, Longo said.

“There’s no crime,” he said. “We took the report for insurance purposes. It may very well end this way unless someone comes forward and says she hit them.”

Taryn Brodwater

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