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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Tax for streets overshadows talk of task force

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A) Jon Snyder: “You can’t just say, ‘We need the streets fixed! We need the streets fixed!’ and then vote against every single remedy that we have at our disposal”
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B) Steve Corker: “If the No. 1 priority of the city was public safety, would we have the courage to vote in a B&O (tax) to ensure that was funded?”
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C) Bob Apple: “I hope the voters take a negative act towards those who think that they don’t have a right to an input”
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D) Joe Shogan: “A B&O tax in this town has got about as much chance as an ice cube in hell”

Mayor Mary Verner told the Spokane City Council on Tuesday that she will reconvene a committee that will help form policy on paving streets and select opportunities to focus "complete streets" efforts.

For the most part, the city's 2004 street bond has been used only to reconstruct streets from curb-to-curb, a policy that has been challenged by some members of City Council who believe it should also be used to improve sidewalks and make other upgrades. Verner has stood by the curb-to-curb use of the street bond, but has worked to supplement that money with grants and other funds to add amenities on certain projects.

Talk in Tuesday's meeting often turned to funding, specifically on the proposed tab tax that will be considered by the Spokane City Council next month. As you can hear in the above clips, passion among the council members about streets is high.

City council decision on impact fees

The city council made a decision on impact fees last night. Here's a link to colleague Jonathan Brunt's story from the meeting. An impact fee is a one-time tax on builders; the money is supposed to go toward the development of infra structure such as streets, water and sewer.

"The approved impact fee for a single-family home is $90 downtown, $749 in northwest Spokane, $694 in south Spokane and $1,004 in northeast Spokane. The builder of a 50,000-square-foot supermarket will pay $23,000 downtown, $163,000 in northwest Spokane, $151,000 in south Spokane and about $219,000 in northeast Spokane." From Jonathan Brunt's story this morning.

Commissioners Mull Impact Fees

Item: Kootenai County to consider impact fees/Alecia Warren, Coeur d’Alene Press

More Info: After a year of retooling, Kootenai County is ready once again to consider impact fee-funded improvement projects to help taxing districts accommodate new growth. “If you go back and look at the amount of growth in the last 10 years, there’s been a tremendous financial burden on every fire and highway district in Kootenai County,” said Larry Clark, commissioner of the Northern Lakes Fire District. “It is imperative that we have some way of passing these costs on to the new homeowner.”

Question: Why are Kootenai County commissioners bringing this forward now? Is it an election ploy to placate taxing districts?