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County commissioners preparing casino comments

Spokane County Commissioners today voted to terminate a 2010 agreement with Airway Heights that prevented commissioners from commenting about a proposed casino by the Spokane Tribe on U.S. Highway 2.

Commissioner Al French said the board is preparing comments to the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs and expects to approve a letter containing the comments on Tuesday.

The comments will outline concerns about the proposed casino encroaching on Fairchild Air Force Base, French said. Development near the base could cause military leaders to close Fairchild, officials have said.

Former Commissioners Bonnie Mager and Mark Richard approved the 2010 agreement, in which the county agreed to withhold comment on the casino proposal, which needs approval from the BIA as well as Washington’s governor.

The agreement outlined payments from the casino to Airway Heights in lieu of taxes, a portion of which would go to the county.

Airway Heights City Council voted earlier in the week to rescind the agreement.