Spokane police and fire departments will be getting $26 million worth of new cars, trucks and equipment, Mayor David Condon said this morning in front of Fire Station No. 4 in Browne's Addition. The money will come partly from raising property taxes by 1 percent annually,which is allowed by state law without voter approval. The amount coming from the tax increase, about $375,000, will be matched with general fund revenue and be put toward a city-issued bond for the full amount of $26 million.
The mayor and current city council have agreed to use the money from the 1 percent increase through 2016, including last year's increase, to fund the badly needed equipment. The mayor said he hopes to dedicate the same funds through 2019, but it was too early to promise them.
To show the need for new equipment, the mayor and others assembled in front of a bright green, 100-foot 1978 American LaFrance ladder firetruck, which is still in use by the department.
Fire Chief Bobby Williams said the truck does the job, but is far from ideal. The $17.5 million promised to his department will buy eight fire engines, two ladder trucks and two pumper ladder trucks, among other things.
Police Chief Frank Straub said the $8.5 million headed to his department will go toward new cars and setting up the long-awaited precincts.
Read more in tomorrow's paper.