Why do the Spokane County commissioners refuse to protect the integrity of the Urban Growth Area, putting local taxpayers at risk even after the state, the city and The Spokesman-Review have all warned them not to? The commission clings to dated, inflated population forecasts, claiming a flood of new residents is on its way, even after previous forecasts have proved wildly overstated.
Face it: Spokane County is not growing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the county has lost 6 percent of its workers since 2008. Forbes magazine rates this the nation’s worst job market. Under these conditions, expanding the UGA is both expensive and illegal.
Why obligate taxpayers to fund new streets, new utilities and more services when this will push existing neighborhoods into further decay? Spokane’s lack of healthy city neighborhoods already drives away the young, single, highly skilled people we most need.
The county’s own studies show there is ample room within the UGA. The state says the county cannot justify expansion, so local taxpayers will pay the entire cost. Worse, this violates state law, meaning we will also pay for unwinnable lawsuits.
What entitles county commissioners to be so reckless with our money?
Let’s protect the UGA.