A new district will siphon new tax revenues for 25 years from in and around the University District in Spokane to pay for pedestrian improvements, beautification and other projects.
The Spokane City Council on Monday unanimously approved the creation of the Spokane University District Revitalization Area.
Creation of the district won’t raise taxes. Instead, 75 percent of city property taxes generated by new construction, and all city sales tax growth up to $650,000 a year from within the boundaries, will be set aside to pay for public infrastructure. The state also pledged to give $250,000 of its sales taxes to the district.
Rick Romero, Spokane’s internal auditor, said that over 25 years the district could raise about $6 million from state taxes and $15 million from city taxes. The first money generated by the district will pay for upgrades along Division Street to act as a gateway from the Interstate 90 off-ramp. The district covers 770 acres, generally between Interstate 90 and Sharp and Browne and Hamilton streets.
Some of the tax money is earmarked for infrastructure work that otherwise would have been paid for by developers of adjacent projects.
Critics of similar tax districts argue that the programs subsidize developers who would have built their projects without the tax assistance.
There was no opposition to the University District tax plan, however, at Monday’s hearing. The first private project expected to receive assistance is a hotel and restaurant development on the site of the old Burgans Furniture.
“This gives us one more tool to drive private investment,” Mayor Mary Verner said.
Valley residents find racist fliers in yards
Police are looking for a litterer after Spokane Valley residents found racist fliers in their yards Monday.
The fliers promoting the Aryan Nations were the same as those that have been appearing in Coeur d’Alene since April. Two men were ticketed for littering and another for aiding a misdemeanor Aug. 8 after neighbors in Coeur d’Alene complained to police.
One of those men, Paul Mullet, declined to say who distributed the fliers Monday but said the distribution will continue.
Spokane Valley police ask anyone with information to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
Meghann M. Cuniff
Sandpoint man, 19, arrested after standoff
A 19-year-old Sandpoint man was arrested Monday morning, hours after shots were fired over the heads of guests in a downtown Sandpoint apartment.
Homer James Shinn IV was taken into custody about 7:20 a.m. after a five-hour standoff with police and Bonner County sheriff’s deputies, police Chief Mark Lockwood said.
Shinn faces a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
The sheriff’s emergency response team stormed the apartment, where Shinn initially resisted arrest; he was taken into custody without any injury.
No shots were fired during the arrest, and Shinn apparently was intoxicated, Lockwood said.
Shinn reportedly was in his apartment at 110 S. Second Ave. when shots were fired about 2:40 a.m., the chief said.
The guests fled the apartment. No one was injured.
Police seized two loaded weapons, a .22-caliber handgun and a 12-gauge shotgun, the chief said.
Several spent casings were also retrieved.