February 23, 2010 in City

County may raise fair admission

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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Going to the fair would cost more this summer under a proposal Spokane County commissioners will consider at 2 p.m. today.

The commissioners also plan to act on Assessor Ralph Baker’s request for $560,000 worth of aerial photography.

The photos would allow appraisers to evaluate homes and businesses without visiting them in many cases.

Under a proposed six-year contract, Pictometry International Corp. of Rochester, N.Y., would provide five low-level, high-resolution views of properties throughout the county.

Taken every other year, the photos would satisfy state standards for appraisal data. They would give appraisers accurate measurements of buildings, Baker told commissioners last month.

Today’s action would authorize Baker and Purchasing Director Bela Kovacs to negotiate a contract that would be “subject to availability of funds” in future budgets. Instead of seeking competitive bids – Pictometry’s service is considered unique – the county would piggyback on a federal contract.

Baker said he needs the photography to offset a $347,523 budget cut this year that reduced his staff from 54 to 48 and left him with just 22 appraisers.

The Pictometry contract would be paid in annual installments, although all but about $20,000 of this year’s cost would be shifted to future years. Baker plans to pay this year’s portion from his existing budget but wants commissioners to cover the rest.

The Spokane County Interstate Fair ticket price hikes on today’s agenda were recommended earlier this month by the county Fair and Expo Center Advisory Board.

Based on last year’s attendance of 227,075, the increases would generate $204,000.

The current $8 charge for regular adult tickets at the gate would rise to $10. Admission for seniors and children 7 to 13 years old would go from $5 to $7 – as would adult tickets purchased in advance.

Children 6 and younger would still get in free. People 65 and older also would get free admission on Senior Day, Sept. 14.

A 10-punch pass would remain $45, but a family pass would rise from $30 to $39.


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