Council adopts county’s plan on homelessness

SATURDAY, FEB. 6, 2010

Millwood City Council joined forces with Spokane County in an effort to end homelessness. In a unanimous vote Monday, council members approved a resolution adopting the Spokane County Regional 10-year plan.

“It’s a good program,” Mayor Dan Mork said.

In December, the council heard a presentation on the new program from Kate Kennedy, community development specialist from Spokane County Community Services, Housing and Community Development.

The program provides rental and utility assistance to Spokane County’s low-income residents. Open to families, singles and couples without children, qualifying candidates must be a county resident with an income under 50 percent of the area median.

Funding for the program comes from Federal Recovery Funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

During the legal report, City Attorney Brian Werst informed the council that the Cities Insurance Association of Washington is under investigation by the Washington state Office of Financial Management. The CIAW is the “public entity risk pool” that provides Millwood with comprehensive property and liability insurance coverage.

Werst reported that the state notified him that the CIAW received a cease-and-desist order. This order came after the state identified inappropriate financial practices.

The state Web site says that regulations put into place in 2008 require the CIAW to maintain minimum financial reserves of $7 million. As of last year, it did not meet the minimum reserves.

With the CIAW’s lack of reserves, Werst believes Millwood could be subject to a future reassessment.

“Final numbers are not clear,” Werst said. “I would strongly recommend the city look at other options.”

Werst assured the council that the city was not in any immediate danger of losing its insurance.

In other city news, the council unanimously approved an ordinance separating the Office of Clerk from the Office of Treasurer. The separation restructures office staff to replace the late Eva Colomb, who held the city clerk/treasurer position for 23 years.

Captain Jeff Bordwell from the Spokane Valley Fire Department presented a review of the department’s response information for Millwood and surrounding areas, comparing data from 2008 to last year.

According to Bordwell, the goal for responding to emergency medical service and fire calls is 4 1/2 minutes, and 6 minutes for advanced life support calls.

“Our numbers are very aggressive,” Deputy Fire Chief Andy Hail said in reference to Bordwell’s presentation. “We want to do the job right.”

In 2009, Fire Station No. 2, which serves Millwood, reached its response goal for fire calls 69 percent of the time. Bordwell cited the Argonne corridor construction project as a reason for the delays. The department reached the goal 83 percent of the time last year on medical emergency calls, and 95 percent on life support calls.

Hail told the council the installation of the Opticom system in the fire station is complete and undergoing final testing.

The Opticom system is a “traffic control system that provides a green light to emergency vehicles.” An emitter mounted near a traffic signal broadcasts a signal to a receiver. The system should provide faster and safer response to emergency calls.

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