The Liberty Lake City Council quietly passed two ordinances Tuesday night, minus the lengthy discussions that usually precede any vote.
The first ordinance approved adding a deputy city clerk position while eliminating the mayor’s executive assistant and the second approved new animal control regulations needed so the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service can take over animal control in the city.
Ann Swensen, who has been working as the mayor’s executive assistant, will not be out of a job, however. She will take over the deputy city clerk position, which pays nearly $3,000 more per year.
Council member Patrick Jenkins expressed concern that the mayor might change her mind and want an executive assistant again. “It’s not going to come back up in the next two or three months?” he asked.
“We have eliminated the position,” said community development director Doug Smith. “There’s no way to pay for it.”
After the meeting, Mayor Wendy Van Orman said the move has been planned for a while. The city needed someone who would be able to fill in for the city clerk when she’s absent. “(Swensen) has been studying to be a deputy city clerk for the last six months,” she said.
Jenkins was the only council member who voted against the ordinance. The animal control ordinance passed unanimously, though some council members expressed unhappiness with the higher license fees charged by SCRAPS.
“The Owens household has now tripled its pet licenses,” said council member Judi Owens. “We’re not happy about that.”
In the past animal control issues have been handled by the Liberty Lake Police Department and there have been complaints about how the department handled it, said police Chief Brian Asmus. “It’s not something we’re trained in,” he said. “SCRAPS has a lot more services available. Not to mention it’s not a good idea for us to be handling dogs and cats in our patrol cars.”
In other business, the council also approved an agreement with Spokane Transit Authority that will allow bus passes to be sold at City Hall. The city won’t spend any money on the service, but city staff will have to track the passes and handle some bookkeeping.
“It’s supposed to be a service to our citizens,” said Owens. “It is going to take us some resources to provide this service.”
Van Orman said she requested the agreement on the advice of local businesses. “It would make it more convenient for businesses,” she said. “They are very excited about having it.”
Jenkins and council member Odin Langford voted against the agreement. Councilman Brian Sayrs was absent.