In a lengthy presentation, Spokane County Commissioner Todd Mielke provided the merits of a Transportation Benefit District to the Liberty Lake City Council at Tuesday’s meeting.
Mielke, who has drafted a proposal for a Spokane County Transportation Benefit District, apprised the Council on the cutbacks in street repair and maintenance budgets from the state of Washington and the steps counties and cities will have to take to make up the difference in funding. While the Council did not make any motions to act on the TBD at the meeting, Mayor Wendy Van Orman indicated it is an issue the Council will have to act upon during 2010.
“I think right now we’re going to look at our financial forecast knowing that we’re going to need to do something regarding our streets,” said Van Orman. “Our streets are about 15 years old. They’re relatively new in the scope of things, but if you don’t maintain them now, you’re looking at a vast majority of them being a whole lot more pricey – a dollar compared to $8 to rebuild them. It will be up to the Council, but I believe we need to move into a direction, whether it’s going on our own or going regional. It makes sense.”
Mielke’s proposal would allow cities that form their own TBD before the County to keep 100 percent of the revenues generated by license tab fees or other taxes generated for street repair and maintenance. The County could form its own TBD with the passage of 60 percent of the jurisdictions in Spokane County and 75 percent of the population of the county.
The Council will continue further discussion on the issue at its next meeting on May 4.
In other action, the City Council unanimously passed a memorandum of understanding with Spokane County to go forward with the Cronk sewer project in the west side of the city. The project would go from Aladdin to the west end of the city and would repair and replace 13,000 feet of sewer pipe.
City Engineer Andrew Staples showed the Council the playground equipment, restroom facilities and pavilion patio that will be installed in Rocky Hill Park. Staples said installation of the playground equipment, including the swings, should begin in the next month.