The Spokane Valley Fire Department showed up in force Monday night at the regular Millwood City Council meeting.
Six members of the department came to relay good news for the city and to introduce the newest member of the Fire Inspection Department: Mako, a 2-year old black Labrador.
The good news came from Fire Marshal Kevin Miller, who announced that as of July 1 the city will drop from a class 4 to a class 3 rating by the Washington state Survey and Rating Bureau.
“It’s like golf,” Miller said. “The lower the number you have, the better the score.”
WSRB ranks communities by evaluating their fire departments, public water systems and existing buildings for fire protection services.
The bureau provides information to subscribers, mainly insurance companies, that use the data to set rates, Miller said.
“Insurance rates should drop,” Miller said of Millwood’s new rating, although he added that “homeowners may not see much of a break.” The biggest change would be in commercial rates, he said.
Miller encouraged the council to get the word out about a possible rate adjustment to residents and business owners. He added that the department’s goal is to get to a level 2 rating to lower everyone’s rates.
Fire dog finds hidden accelerants
Assistant Fire Marshal Rick Freier introduced Mako to the council.
The dog, which is trained to detect accelerants such as gasoline that arsonists use to start fires, was donated by State Farm Insurance. “I’m really excited about the program,” said Freier, who is Mako’s handler.
To date, Mako has been used at 22 fires around the region.
Freier demonstrated Mako’s abilities by hiding tubes of accelerant throughout the council chambers. The Lab quickly found each tube. He either picked up the tube and dropped it at Freier’s feet, or pointed to the location with his nose.
Options for wading pool discussed
The City Council discussed options for accepting funds that would be used to resurface the wading pool in Millwood City Park.
The city landmark was scheduled for demolition due to a budget shortfall. During last month’s special meeting, the council committed to operate the pool if the community can raise $10,000 by the end of the year.
“In order to accept any donated money the City Council has to adopt an ordinance to set parameters of what you would accept, how you would accept it, and what would be done with the money if you accepted it,” City Attorney Brian Werst said.
The citizens group working to raise the money is having difficulty opening an account to accept funds because it doesn’t have nonprofit status. Shirene Young, a member of the group, said getting the status takes approximately six months. The group is exploring other options.
The council decided to draft an ordinance that sets fundraising parameters and provides for opening a special reserve account earmarked for the park. The council plans to expedite the process by holding a special meeting at 5 p.m. Monday to vote on the ordinance.
“If time is of the essence, then this is the best we can do right now,” Councilman Kevin Freeman said.
Councilman Glenn Bailey asked if the city could move forward on resurfacing while funds are being raised.
Mayor Dan Mork asked maintenance manager Cleve McCoul to report at the special meeting how long the resurfacing project would take. The council deferred making a decision until the meeting.
Speed limits changed
The council unanimously passed an ordinance changing the speed limits around Millwood chool and playground zones from 20 mph “all hours” to 20 mph “when children are present.”
The change is the result of signage being unavailable to designate “all hours.” McCoul reported last month that there are three options available for signage: “School 20 mph when children are present,” “School 20 mph when lights are flashing” and “School 20 mph with ability to designate hours.”
“This is something that would apply from today forward,” Werst said. “Not an acknowledgement on the city’s part that the school zone was otherwise invalid.”