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The silver lining in newly released Spokane County property values is that they didn’t decline as much as last year’s. The county’s overall assessed value fell for the second year in a row, but only about half as much as last year’s $794.9 million drop.
Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich gave county commissioners a $372,631 list of equipment and software Tuesday that he’d like to buy with county reserves. Commissioners took no action, but agreed to discuss the request further.
Proposed regulation of private motor tracks in rural residential areas was wildly unpopular among more than 100 people at a public hearing Thursday. The 30 who spoke against restrictions on motorcycles and off-road vehicles got Harley-caliber applause from almost everyone in the audience, especially when one of them declared a consensus: “We want to ride.”
The sun was shining Tuesday on Spokane County’s Conservation Futures program if nowhere else. County commissioners learned that a grant will reduce the cost of the YMCA site in Riverfront Park and that a family will provide a free trailhead parking lot for the Antoine Peak Conservation Area for at least two years.
Call it the Dueling PowerPoints. Spokane’s downtown Rotary 21 club got the opening salvo April 29 when Robert Boruchowitz, a Seattle University law professor, made the case for diversion programs instead of another county jail.
New restrictions could be coming on the use of motorcycles, ATVs and other off-road vehicles on private property. The Spokane County Planning Commission will take testimony next Thursday, May 26, on a proposal to regulate private “motor tracks” in unincorporated areas after complaints about several personal dirt tracks, some of which reportedly include elaborate off-road designs.
Spokane County parks officials are preparing for summer with the assumption that last year’s budget crunch is the new normal. Parks Director Doug Chase is planning a more sustainable austerity plan that increasingly relies on volunteers.
Spokane Mayor Mary Verner finally has an obstacle in her re-election bid. David Condon, the deputy chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., said Monday that he will enter the race for Spokane mayor.
Proclamations are the Cocoa Puffs of government pronouncements. They mainly nourish the imagination. A Spokane blogger acknowledged that, but still complained that county commissioners failed to deliver meat and potatoes for Earth Day, April 22.
New construction overlooked, coding errors missed
Spokane County must hire a consultant and submit to close supervision by state officials to continue work on a $66 million project to improve Bigelow Gulch Road. The Washington State Department of Transportation stripped the county of independent authority to acquire land for the Bigelow project and other federally or state-funded projects.
Local governments are fighting a federal order to send the IRS 3 percent of what they owe their suppliers and contractors. Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton estimates the unfunded congressional mandate, which takes effect in January, will cost the county around $100,000 in staff time for preparations.
There will be no Spokane County jail bond measure this year and less chance of a legal challenge when a vote is scheduled, probably next year.