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Kaminskas defeats Laux, joins council

The Liberty Lake City Council elected Cristella Kaminskas as the newest council member Tuesday night.

Kaminskas edged Larry Laux in a 4-2 vote. Kaminskas, who was narrowly defeated by council member Josh Beckett in the November election, replaces Patrick Jenkins, who resigned his seat in early January because he is moving out of the area.

“When I lost the election in November, I said I wasn’t going away,” Kaminskas said. “My intention was to get involved with the Friends of the Pavilion in the Park after the first of the year. It just so happened Patrick stepped down, so I thought everything happens for a reason and here’s the opportunity again and I’m going to give it a shot. It was meant to be.”

Kaminskas, who is a program manager at KeyTronic in Liberty Lake, hopes to make business development in the city a priority.

“I want to keep people spending their money here,” Kaminskas said. “It’s the only way we’re going to be successful. We need to draw the right businesses to keep people eating their meals here, and to do their weekend and after school activities here. It’s going to take a while, but I think that’s where we need to make our focus.”

Kaminskas was also a regular attendee to city council meetings and joins two other new council members that have taken their seats in the last two months.

“We will bring all of the council members up to speed,” said Mayor Wendy Van Orman. “We have three now in Josh Beckett, Ryan Romney joined us late last year and now Cris Kaminskas, so now three new council members and three new perspectives. I think it’s going to be a good thing.”

In other business, the council also unanimously approved Bacon Concrete, Inc. to finish Phase 2 of the Rocky Hill Park. Bacon Concrete’s bid of $375,852.19 was selected over nine other bidders in the process.

“It has been in the works for approximately four or five years,” Van Orman said. “We had a letter of intent that if we did not move forward on this park, we would have lost it. We had a five-year window. With the parks grant we got from Washington state for $503,500, it’s how we were able to start on this park, with the matching funds coming from capital funds.”

The bid, according to city engineer Andrew Staples, will cover laying the earthwork and foundation work for the park, as well as the tennis courts and the plumbing and hook ups for the restroom facilities. It will leave only the restrooms themselves and the playground equipment to be put up in the park.

We’re hoping to go ahead and start in the spring (with the phase of the project),” Van Orman said. “We should be completed by summer and utilized hopefully as early as the following spring. We need to let the grass grow.”

The council also appointed Jon Seubert to the Library Board by unanimous vote. In another unanimous vote, the council appointed Don Millikan, Peggy Self and Wadie Elaimy to the Salary Commission. The commission is responsible for setting the salaries for the mayor and city council members.

The city also unanimously approved an advertising agreement with the Liberty Lake Splash newspaper to run city ads with the paper.

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