At tonight's Spokane Valley City Council meeting, Deputy Mayor Arne Woodard announced that he's out of town during next week's meeting but will be participating by phone. This is an option awarded all city council members as long as it's announced in advance at a city council meeting, voted on and approved by the council. Woodard got all yes votes tonight.
Woodard said he's phoning in to the meeting to make sure as many council members are available as possible. Because city council member Bill Bates has been excused absent for more than five months, having the remaining elected officials available is crucial for the council's decision making. With just six council members present on a regular basis, the chance of a 3-3 tie is increasing - any tie vote on a proposal means that motion is considered lost.
The passing of a city ordinance, for instance, requires a majority of the whole city council, and the passage of a public emergency ordinance or a budget amendment requires a majority plus one vote from the city council. Both scenarios are possible with one member absent.
Bates, who's being treated for cancer, has not participated in any meetings via phone, and may remain on the city council as long as he wishes.