Arrow-right Camera

Washington Voices

Tourism tax increase OK’d

Thu., Aug. 27, 2009

Council also backs re-opening jail site selection

A night at a motel in Spokane Valley will cost 50 cents more under a tourism tax increase approved Tuesday by the City Council.

The Spokane Valley council joined Spokane County commissioners and the Spokane City Council in granting the Spokane-area hotel industry’s request to boost the lodging tax from $1.50 to $2 a night. All of the money goes to promote tourism.

Spokane Valley Councilwoman Diana Wilhite said Liberty Lake and Cheney also participate in the voluntary tax program.

Also Tuesday, the council authorized Mayor Rich Munson to write a letter endorsing a proposal for Spokane County commissioners to re-open the site selection process for a new county jail. Munson said the current plan for a new jail on the county courthouse grounds is too expensive at an estimated $265 million.

Munson said officials now believe a second jail at a less urban site, such as a vacant portion of the state’s Pine Lodge Corrections Center at Medical Lake or a new facility near Spokane International Airport, could be acquired for $229 million.

In a preliminary review of amendments to Spokane Valley’s development code, the council rejected Munson’s call to retain authority for complaint-based regulation of mobile food vendors if they cause parking lot problems in garden office zones. Councilmen Dick Denenny, Bill Gothmann and Ian Robertson noted the city hasn’t been enforcing the existing regulation and said they prefer to leave the issue to property owners who provide space for vendors.

The council heard presentations from 10 social service agencies and two economic development agencies seeking a share of $141,000 the council plans to award next year. The agency requests totaled $236,598.

The council plans to select grant recipients at its Sept. 8 meeting.

The agencies and their requests are: Project Access, $25,000; Arc of Spokane, $5,000; Center Pointe, $1,500; Hearth Homes, $10,000; Valley Meals on Wheels, $6,500; Big Brothers Big Sisters, $10,184; Spokane Valley Partners, $35,000; Coalition for the Responsible Disabled, $13,414; Spokane Valley Arts Council, $10,000; Community Minded Television, $25,000; Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce, $30,000; and Greater Spokane Inc., $65,000.



Click here to comment on this story »