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Liberty Lake makes progress on budget

Thu., Dec. 16, 2010, midnight

Failure of liquor tax initiatives restores some funds

In a special meeting Tuesday, the Liberty Lake City Council decided on what to do with $140,139 in funds it didn’t have when the proposed budget was written.

The funds come from state liquor store profits and sales tax not included in the budget due to Initiatives 1100 and 1105 which failed in the November election ($83,717), raising the levy by 1 percent ($37,822) and from raises for the city council and mayor which were recently refused by the council, ($18,600).

The council did not approve the budget for 2011 at this meeting, but discussed the distribution of these funds.

Councilmember David Crump announced the retirement of parks superintendent Mike Curry. Crump said this retirement offers the city an opportunity to combine a parks superintendent position with a golf course superintendent. The council asked the mayor to come back with a job description and comparison of salaries for similar positions in other municipalities.

“There is a bit of a sense of urgency,” said Councilmember Josh Beckett.

Crump said combining the two positions would free funds to bring the golf pro position back to full time, which was cut to a seasonal position earlier this fall.

This motion passed with Council members Judi Owens, Susan Schuler, Cris Kaminskas and Crump voting to approve and Ryan Romney, Beckett and Odin Langford opposed.

Crump then proposed to restore $21,163 to the library’s budget to keep it open 40 hours a week with two full-time employees.

The council voted unanimously to approve.

Council then decided to add $38,132 to the library’s budget from utility taxes and insurance it was paying on the building it shares with the police department. These funds would come out of the city’s general fund.

“It should not have been an expense to the library to begin with,” Owens said. This proposal was approved unanimously.

The library was also scheduled to receive $106,000 in capital funds at the end of the year and Community Development Director Doug Smith explained those funds are usually used if the building needs a new roof or HVAC system.

“Do we have a need for a new roof or HVAC system,” Romney asked and Smith said no.

“OK, I love the library,” Owens said. “I’m really happy with the door that I walked through,” referring to discussions about a new entry way to the building. But she said she would prefer that $106,000 to go toward the city’s street funds, since the library also has reserve money in its capital fund.

“One hundred thousand dollars sitting there to do nothing is plenty,” she said.

It was decided unanimously that $36,000 of those funds would go to the street maintenance fund and the remaining $70,000 would be allotted to the street capital fund.

Schuler proposed the city allocate $15,000 for a fence for the police department. That money would be for materials only, since many groups in Liberty Lake have already volunteered their services to install it.

Chief Brian Asmus said the materials would include a fence, a key pad system, electrical materials and asphalt.

Romney was the only councilmember opposed to this.

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