Valley set to celebrate 10 years, plans birthday party

Council also OKs 2013 budget

The city of Spokane Valley is polishing plans to hold a series of events in 2013 to celebrate the city’s 10th anniversary, starting with a birthday party on March 16.

The party will include entertainment, cake and carnival games, public information officer Carolbelle Branch told the City Council during its Tuesday meeting. “It’s all going to be free,” Branch said.

The events are being planned by an anniversary committee that includes city staff, Jayne Singleton of the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum, Peggy Doering of Valleyfest, former Councilman Bill Gothmann and former Mayor Diana Wilhite.

Branch is planning video and photo contests that allow people to showcase what makes Spokane Valley the place to be.

“We want to have more presence on the Web about what we have to offer here in Spokane Valley,” she said. The contests will run for several months and the winners will be announced at next year’s Valleyfest.

A clean-up of a portion of the old Milwaukee Railroad right of way is planned, with volunteers getting a T-shirt and an after-party. Branch said she is talking to potential sponsors for the events. “The reception has been really good so far,” she said.

Branch said she will also record a Spokane Valley birthday song set to the tune of “Ring Around the Rosie.” “It’s one of those things that sticks in your head,” she said.

Councilman Chuck Hafner said a musical theme could be effective. “Don’t let any of the council members sing it,” he said.

So far the estimated cost of the events is $34,700. “Staff will be prudent, but it will cost a little bit of money,” said City Manager Mike Jackson.

In other business, the council voted unanimously to approve the 2013 budget after weeks of discussion. The most noteworthy change was the transfer of $7.8 million from the city’s ending fund balance to a new capital reserve fund for the expansion of Balfour Park and the replacement of the Sullivan Bridge and any other projects the council wants to pay for. The ending fund balance is projected to drop to $17.7 million, or just over 50 percent of the general fund budget.

The 2013 budget also includes $2 million set aside for street preservation projects.

The council also unanimously approved several amendments to the 2012 budget, including spending $2.5 million to purchase property at Sprague and Herald from businessman Jack Pring for a new library and expansion of Balfour Park.

The council had few questions after a presentation on the draft environmental designations for the state-mandated update of the city’s Shoreline Master Program. The regulations apply to the first 200 feet above the ordinary high-water mark. The planning commission is recommending designations of upland residential, waterfront residential, urban conservancy, urban conservancy-high quality and aquatic.

More than 66 percent of the shoreline in the city is state park land, and that will be designated urban conservancy, said senior planner Lori Barlow. Several of the spots designated urban conservancy-high quality have steep slopes that have “prevented the disturbance of those areas,” she said.

Councilman Arne Woodard expressed concern about utilities being able to maintain their facilities in areas designated urban conservancy-high quality. Senior planner Lori Barlow said a section was added to make it clear that utilities such as Avista are allowed to maintain their transmission lines where they cross the river. “We are not putting obstacles in their way,” she said.

There was also agreement to move forward with putting business route signs on Interstate 90 to direct people off the freeway and to local businesses. Signs would be put up at the Sprague Avenue and Barker Road exits, marking the beginning and end of the business district. The $60,000 price tag would also include signs along Sprague that would direct people back to I-90.

“Anytime we can get them off the freeway is a benefit to us,” said Mayor Tom Towey.

“Let’s move forward,” Hafner said.

The council also agreed to cancel the Nov. 6 meeting because of the election.

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