The Spokane Valley City Council indicated Tuesday it is ready to vote on a contract with the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service, bringing to an end a year of discussion on whether the city should stay with SCRAPS as it moves toward a regional model or contract with SpokAnimal.
A vote was tentatively scheduled for the Dec. 11 council meeting but it may take longer to finalize the contract language because Spokane County Commissioner Todd Mielke has been out of town, said senior administrative analyst Morgan Koudelka.
The draft contract has several significant changes from the proposal initially made by the county, which included an automatic annual price increase based on the Consumer Price Index. At the time several council members expressed concern about that provision, noting that their contract with SCRAPS has been dropping in price in recent years.
Now the draft contract calls for the price to start at $242,081 in 2014 with annual increases, if any, based on the recommendation of a new Animal Control Advisory board that will include representatives of Spokane Valley and Spokane County as well as the city of Spokane if it joins. The capital costs for the building the county plans to buy convert into a shelter will remain fixed at $45,000 a year for the life of the 20-year contract.
The county will create an enterprise fund for SCRAPS to keep it separate from the county’s general fund, Koudelka said. The advisory board will also be responsible for setting SCRAPS’ annual budget.
“This agreement works with or without the city of Spokane,” Koudelka said.
The city of Spokane is making progress toward a decision on animal control and appears to be leaning toward contracting with SCRAPS, Koudelka said. “It looks favorable with them to join the regional system,” he said. “We hope that they do come on board.”
Councilman Arne Woodard asked if the city’s services would remain the same under the new contract. “The services are the same,” Koudelka said. The shelter hours will increase to seven days a week and will also be open some evenings, he said.
Councilwoman Brenda Grassel asked if the contract would affect animal breeders in Spokane Valley. “I don’t want the folks that have been grandfathered in to lose that,” she said. “There is concern among the breeders out there.”
“This agreement does not change our regulations,” said City Manager Mike Jackson. “That doesn’t happen.”
Councilman Dean Grafos said he was ready to move forward with a vote as soon as the contract is ready. “I think all of our questions have been answered,” he said.
“We don’t want to be like Spokane, three years down the road and still discussing it,” Woodard said.
In other business, the council voted unanimously to extinguish two stormwater easements that needed to be changed to accommodate building plans. Mayor Tom Towey was absent. Both easements are being replaced by new ones that are shaped differently and still will provide adequate drainage, said engineer Gabe Gallinger.
The first easement is at the site of the proposed Beach House at Trailhead apartments. The proposed apartment complex will be located near the Old Mission Avenue Centennial Trail trailhead on land on the west side of Mission Parkway. The land is owned by Centennial Property, which is owned by Cowles Co., which also owns The Spokesman-Review.
The second easement is on property at Mission and Blake Road where a Spokane Valley Cancer Care facility is under construction. “I think that building will be looking for a certificate of occupancy soon,” Gallinger said.
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