Arrow-right Camera
News >  Spokane

Commissioners to host public meetings on Spokane County budget

FILE – Spokane County Commissioners Josh Kerns and Al French vote during a meeting on Sept. 12, 2017. To build their case for higher pay, Spokane County’s deputy prosecutors have taken aim at the commissioners, who last year received 19 percent raises thanks to an independent panel of citizens that sets salaries for elected officials in Spokane County. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
FILE – Spokane County Commissioners Josh Kerns and Al French vote during a meeting on Sept. 12, 2017. To build their case for higher pay, Spokane County’s deputy prosecutors have taken aim at the commissioners, who last year received 19 percent raises thanks to an independent panel of citizens that sets salaries for elected officials in Spokane County. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

The Spokane County Commissioners will host a series of community meetings to inform the public and gather input as they craft the county’s budget for 2019.

The first meeting, scheduled for Sept. 18, will focus on property value assessments and taxes, which are expected to rise significantly this year because of a state levy for schools.

The second meeting, on Oct. 9, will cover parks, roads and utilities. The third and final meeting, on Oct. 16, will cover public safety and the local justice system.

Each meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the commissioners’ hearing room on the bottom floor of the Public Works Building, 1026 W. Broadway Ave.

After a review of the 2018 budget and an outlook for 2019, community members will have an opportunity to provide input, according to a news release. Each meeting will be recorded and shared on the county’s website and YouTube channel.

The meetings are intended as a show of transparency following last year’s budgeting process, in which the county cut spending from the general fund to avert a $9.4 million shortfall. At the time, commissioners said the county had been hurting from declines in sales tax revenue and “unfunded mandates” from the Legislature and the state Supreme Court.

In the recent news release, however, Commissioner Al French said the situation has changed: “This year, we are on a better financial footing thanks to the adjustments that we made over the last year and a growing economy.”

During an interview last week, Commissioner Josh Kerns said he hopes to avoid raising the county’s property tax rate – a proposal he and French introduced to voters and then abandoned last year.

“My goal is for us to avoid that,” Kerns said, adding that strong sales tax revenue has reduced the county’s projected budget shortfall. “Our shortfall for next year continues to go down, like, every single month. It is incredible what our sales tax is doing right now.”


Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter

Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter

There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email webteam@spokesman.com

You have been successfully subscribed!