August 3, 2010 in City

Spokane City Charter changes won’t crowd ballot

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Children’s fund going to voters

 Spokane voters will decide the fate of a proposed property tax that would raise money for early child learning, abuse prevention, treatment and other programs.

 The Spokane City Council voted unanimously Monday to place the Spokane Children’s Investment Fund Levy for Families and Youth on the November ballot. County officials confirmed earlier this month that volunteers successfully collected enough signatures to require a vote.

 The tax, which would raise $5 million annually, would cost the owner of a $100,000 property $35 a year.

City voters won’t need to add an extra stamp to mail back their ballots in the November election.

The Spokane City Council on Monday voted 4-3 to delay sending more than a dozen City Charter changes to the ballot.

Had all the proposals – many of them minor clarifications – been placed on this fall’s general election ballot, county officials said the ballot would have required a second page, increasing printing costs and requiring voters to place extra postage on their return envelope.

Some council members said with so many state initiatives on the ballot, City Charter changes wouldn’t have gotten enough attention.

“I just worry that they’re not going to get proper consideration,” Councilman Jon Snyder said.

Council President Joe Shogan and members Nancy McLaughlin, Jon Snyder and Richard Rush voted to delay until May 1, giving the council enough time to place the changes on next year’s August primary ballot.

McLaughlin earlier suggested placing three of the least controversial items on this year’s November ballot. She said a few items won’t necessitate a second page, and getting some out of the way this year would make it less likely that the city would have to pay for a second page in 2011.

Only Shogan agreed with her plan. Other council members called for more public testimony about all the concepts before moving them to a ballot.

Councilman Steve Corker, who served on a committee that examined charter changes, said a delay should not cause a problem, especially since the city has lived with the current wording for a decade.

“It’s important that the council feel comfortable and that the public feel comfortable,” Corker said.


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