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Trip-reduction tax rebate sought

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 28, 2009

County contracts with ex-GOP leader

The Spokane County Commission voted Tuesday to waive normal bidding procedures and contract with the former chairman of the county Republican Party to provide guidance in helping the county secure a tax rebate from the state.

Auditor Vicky Dalton said the county has an opportunity to receive a tax credit for its trip-reduction efforts by employees – but the paperwork is due Friday. So Dalton asked the commission to forgo the bidding process to hire Curt Fackler.

“Time is of the essence,” Dalton said. In a later interview, Fackler said he does this type of work for private businesses but realized in December that the county may be eligible for tax relief from the state based on its trip-reduction programs.

At the time, Fackler was supervising the recount of votes in the contest between Republican state Rep. John Ahern and Democratic challenger John Driscoll. He noticed county officials handing out bus passes.

“That’s when it clicked,” said Fackler, who has never worked with the county before.

He approached Dalton with the idea and she brought it to the commission, he said.

If Fackler – who ended his two-year term as GOP chairman in December – is able to secure a tax credit for the county, he would receive 25 percent of what the county gets back, Dalton said. At most, she told commissioners that the county could receive about $20,000.

Jim Emacio, chief deputy civil prosecuting attorney, advised the commission that they can forgo the normal bidding process when it’s “reasonable and prudent” to do so.

“We truly do not have the time or the expertise to figure this out and make sure we do it right,” Dalton said. “This will be a one-time only. Our expectation is that we will learn from” Fackler.

Commissioner Mark Richard was absent, but commissioners Todd Mielke and Bonnie Mager voted to approve the request.

“If we get $20,000, that could be half a position,” Dalton said, referring to recent job reductions at the county.

Thomas Clouse can be reached at (509) 459-5495 or

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