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Washington Voices

Library leader offers budget hike options

Sat., Nov. 20, 2010

Liberty Lake Municipal Library Board President John Loucks made a proposal to increase the proposed 2011 budget at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Loucks broke down the library’s proposal and compared it to Mayor Wendy Van Orman’s. The library proposed a yearly budget of $350,317, slightly more than the mayor’s $318,837.

Loucks noted the 2011 budget is the lowest since 2007, and proposed three different ways to make up the approximately $31,000 difference. The city could use the library capital fund, the city reserve or get it from the utility tax funds to be generated by the new 6 percent tax. Loucks also noted the library staff agreed to take a temporary 10 percent pay cut and would cut library hours from 46 to 40 a week, saving the city $32,271.

Former Mayor Steve Peterson also gave the council revenue figures from the city’s golf course, showing the increases the course had made over the last decade. Mayor Pro Tem David Crump proposed having the golf course put together a presentation similar to the one put forth by the library before the council would make a final vote on the course’s budget.

The council also heard a presentation from the Spokane Transit Authority on the STA’s proposal to eliminate bus route 72 services to Liberty Lake as part of STA’s budget crunch.

Susan Meyer, chief executive officer for STA, expressed disappointment in the cutbacks, saying that while ridership was up 45 percent overall on STA buses over the last three years, “the sales tax generated doesn’t meet expenses of the service,” in communities like Liberty Lake, Medical Lake, Airway Heights and other small cities. Meyer added that riders could call STA at (509) 343-1653 for a copy of the proposal or go to the STA website at www.spokanetransit.com.

In other business, the council is going to look at the possibility of lowering the speed limit on Mission Avenue by Rocky Hill Park from 35 mph.

Police Chief Brian Asmus worked with city engineer Andrew Staples on studying safety by the new park and by Pavillion Park, and said, “The speed limit needs to be looked at being reduced on Mission.” The council talked of a 20 mph seasonal speed limit, but Asmus said he needed further studies to see if that was a viable alternative.



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