Spokane Mayor Dennis Hession, in a heated battle to keep his job against City Councilwoman Mary Verner, will present his proposed 2008 budget to City Council today.
He said his plan includes six new firefighters and 12 new police officers.
The police hires would be the first step in a two-year plan to add 24 officer positions.
Verner said she supports adding the firefighters and police.
But with budget shortfalls forecast within a few years, she questions Hession’s plan to reduce utility rates by 2 percent.
The reduction would cut income from utility taxes by about $600,000, city officials estimated last week.
“It would be irresponsible to proceed without doing a full-blown rate study,” Verner said.
Last week, Hession announced the plan in a press release that surprised City Council members and caused some to question if the timing was politically motivated.
– Jonathan Brunt
Suspect in robbery jailed after chase
Spokane police caught a suspected robber early Sunday after officers used spike strips to stop a pickup they were chasing.
Police were called to Fairco Mini Mart, 2020 W. Francis Ave., about 2:30 a.m. on a report of a robber with a gun fleeing the store in a white truck.
An officer responding to the scene saw a white truck driving south on Ash Street near Shannon Avenue and tried to pull it over.
The truck wouldn’t stop, and other officers were able to place spike strips in the roadway in front of the vehicle.
Two of the pickup’s tires were flattened and he was arrested near Cleveland Avenue and Washington Street.
Keith W. Parkins, 39, was booked into the Spokane County Jail on counts of first-degree robbery and attempting to elude.
– Jonathan Brunt
Gas valve problem wakes neighborhood
Indian Trail residents got an alarming wake-up call Sunday.
Natural gas escaping from a safety valve at a pipeline pumping station along West Barnes Road about 7 a.m. created a loud, whirring roar for about 10 minutes that prompted an “inordinate” number of calls to authorities, according to the Spokane Fire Department.
Firefighters at Station 17 had heard the noise as well and already were out searching neighborhoods as the calls poured in.
Although it sounded dangerous, authorities said no one was in danger.
The valve is designed to relieve over-pressurization and worked as designed, according to the Fire Department.
– Staff report
Suspect apprehended after restaurant theft
A man suspected of brazenly stealing about $150 from a downtown Spokane restaurant early Sunday was apprehended by police.
Doug A. Freels, 26, was taken into custody at the STA plaza after officers noticed he matched the description of the thief and had a pocketful of small bills matching the denominations taken from Molly’s Restaurant at Third Avenue and Lincoln Street, according to the Spokane Police Department.
He was booked into the county jail on a charge of second-degree burglary and on an unrelated warrant from the state Corrections Department.
The theft occurred shortly before 8 a.m. Sunday, according to police.
A man entered the restaurant and, when employees were distracted, opened a cash register and scooped out $10 and $20 bills before fleeing on foot, police said.
– Staff report