April 15, 2009 in City

In brief: Mail center best bet for late tax postmark


With the advent of online tax filing, the U.S. Postal Service has scaled back the number of locations it keeps open to accommodate those needing the all-important April 15 postmark.

In the Spokane area, just one Post Office will be open today until midnight: the mail processing center at 2928 S. Spotted Road.

Several other locations, however, will have later-than-usual pickup. They include: Riverside Station, 904 W. Riverside Ave., at 5 and 6:30; 1617 Northwest Blvd. and 301 S. Thor St., 6 p.m.; 150 E. 2nd Ave., 7 p.m.

The post office in Coeur d’Alene will keep regular hours today, closing at 5 p.m.

There are also some after-hours options at grocery stores and other places that have postal windows, but Lisa Nystuen, a spokeswoman for the Postal Service, said the safest bet after business hours is the Spotted Road mailbox, at the mail processing plant.

From staff reports

Spokane County

River off-limits above Nine Mile Dam

A stretch of the Spokane River above Nine Mile Dam was closed to boaters and swimmers by the Spokane County Commissioners Tuesday.

High water and debris over the weekend broke the boat restraint cable above the dam and it’s not expected to be repaired until June, commissioners were told. While the cable is down, the county will post signs that the river is off-limits to swimmers and boaters from Plese Flats upriver from the Seven Mile Bridge to the Nine Mile Dam.

Jim Camden

City gets $275,000 rebate from Avista

The $3.6 million that Spokane leaders spent on a new heating and air conditioning system and related projects at City Hall has resulted in a $275,000 rebate from Avista.

In 2007, the Spokane City Council approved the project, which was paid for using the city’s 2006 budget surplus. The next year, an additional $500,000 was added for associated work. That money came from a city construction and special projects fund.

During the debate two years ago, the majority of council members said the old system was failing and that the construction would provide long-term savings because of increased efficiency. Administrative Services Director Dorothy Webster said Avista’s rebate is about equal to City Hall’s annual Avista bill. She said the project not only saves money, but sets an important example.

The rebate will be deposited in the city’s construction and special projects fund, Webster said.

Jonathan Brunt

Budget cuts changing for school districts

The amount of money Spokane-area school districts will have to trim from their budgets continues to be a moving target.

Spokane Public Schools must now consider slashing between $5 million and $9 million from its $308.2 million budget.

Mead School District is now looking at cuts ranging from $2.5 million to $4 million from its $82 million budget, which is less than last week’s projected $5.1 million-plus, officials said.

“The state continues to negotiate the figures so the range could change again, but what we do know is that every district will be impacted,” said Spokane Public Schools Superintendent Nancy Stowell.

The cuts could mean a reduction in staff and programs or both, but nothing has been decided in either district.

Spokane Public Schools is seeking the public’s input on what programs to maintain. E-mails can be sent to terrenr@spokaneschools.org. Also, budget forums will be held 7 p.m. May 12 at Chase Middle School, 4747 E. 37th Ave., and 7 p.m. May 14 at Glover Middle School, 2404 W. Longfellow Ave.

Jody Lawrence-Turner

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