The city of Spokane Valley is getting ready to make several changes to its 2013 budget, partly to pay for extra projects and expenses the council has approved in the past few months. A public hearing on the changes was held Tuesday and final approval is scheduled for later this month.
One of the biggest changes is the addition of $125,000 to the city’s economic development advertising campaign. The increase from $75,000 to $200,000 in funding will pay for a yearlong campaign. The changes also add just over $70,000 to the payroll budget. “That’s a result of several data entry errors,” said Finance Director Mark Calhoun. “That’s a new experience for me.”
The city also plans to spend $25,000 for its share of the cost to replace the carpet in the City Hall offices. The cost is being split with the landlord. “We’d rather do it sooner rather than later,” Calhoun said of the project.
Also added to the budget is $60,000 for business route signs, $42,000 for Balfour Park site development work and $150,000 to design the Appleway Trail.
The budget additions are being paid for in a variety of ways. Calhoun adjusted his estimated sales tax revenue for 2013 upward by $150,000 to $15.25 million. Rent for City Hall dropped by $66,000 for 2013, which freed up money for other expenses.
The city also plans to remove $50,000 from the CenterPlace Operating Reserve Fund, spend $150,000 out of the Capital Reserve Fund the city set up last year for projects and spend $150,000 from the Capital Projects Fund.
In other business, the council heard a report on a proposed ordinance that would allow the placement of used manufactured homes on individual lots. The city recently approved new rules allowing used manufactured homes in manufactured home parks.
Any used manufactured homes would still be required to be newer than 1976, said planner Micki Harnois. She said she went looking for examples of used manufactured homes in the city to show the council. “Some were hard to find because they blended in so well with the stick built homes,” she said. “There are some quality used homes out there.”
The council also discussed what actions, if any, they should take in the face of the new law allowing recreational marijuana use. Deputy city attorney Erik Lamb said recreational marijuana and medical marijuana have different regulations. Rules are being created for recreational marijuana but what rules exist prohibit licensed retail facilities within 1,000 feet of any school, playground, recreation center, child care center, park, library or game arcade. Adding to the dilemma is that marijuana is considered illegal by the federal government, which has not yet indicated what it will do with Washington state’s new law, Lamb said.
Some cities have banned marijuana businesses, some have attempted to create restrictions and others have declared moratoriums blocking new businesses while they create rules to govern them, Lamb said. “Some cities have welcomed medical marijuana providers with open arms,” he said.
Councilman Ben Wick said he favored creating new rules for medical marijuana providers. “My thought is to at least include the same (1,000 foot) buffer zone as I-502 has for recreational marijuana,” he said.
“I personally think we need to be careful,” said Councilman Arne Woodard. “There’s a lot to this we don’t have the answers to.”
“I think taking any step is a step toward validation and I’m not sure that’s your intent,” said City Manager Mike Jackson. “Some cities have said it’s not allowed because it’s a violation of federal law.”
The federal government could step in and begin enforcing marijuana laws tomorrow, Jackson said. “I think we’re fine with waiting.”
“I’d rather be really restrictive, but I don’t want to condone it in any way, shape or form,” Woodard said.
The city needs more details before making any sort of decision, said Mayor Tom Towey. “I think it would benefit the city to have all the information,” he said.