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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Grafos offers projects

Council discusses costs of city entry, school zone beacons

Spokane Valley City Councilman Dean Grafos, who has led the fiscal responsibility charge, advocated during Tuesday’s council meeting spending $50,000 on a city entry and flashing school zone crossing signs.

In September, Grafos suggested having nonunion employees give up their annual cost of living raise in 2011 in order to save money. His suggestion passed, saving the city approximately $40,000.

But on Tuesday Grafos recommended spending $50,000 for a landscaped city entry at Appleway and Thierman. Spokane County is willing to donate a small, triangular shaped piece of land to the city, said public works director Neil Kersten. “It’s not a buildable parcel,” Kersten said. “They’re willing to transfer it over here.”

Some rough cost estimates were given to the council, ranging from $50,000 for some landscaping and irrigation up to $120,000 for more elaborate landscaping and an entrance sign. The sign alone would cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000.

Grafos said he thinks the city can do a nice job for $50,000. “I don’t think we need to go into that $120,000 bracket,” he said.

Councilwoman Brenda Grassel said she would like to see a monument sign put in. “I would like to see something special there,” she said.

Grafos had also requested that city staff look into adding flashing school zone signs at Bowdish Middle School. There are currently flashing lights installed at nine elementary schools, all of them partially paid for by grants. Each beacon costs $18,000 to purchase and install and the grant covers $7,500. “They will only pay for the material on the grants,” Kersten said.

The grants will pay for beacons only at elementary schools, he said. There are 21 elementary schools in Spokane Valley that don’t have any beacons and Kersten said he recommended putting them in at those schools before turning to the middle and high schools “just because of the age of the children.”

Grafos said he was in favor of doing one middle school a year even though the city is currently experiencing tough economic times. “I think we can come up with $20,000 to at least start doing the middle schools,” he said. “I still think it’s a safety issue.”

In other business, the council held an executive session to discuss pending litigation. When the sessions are announced there is never any indication of which lawsuit or potential lawsuit is being discussed. However, attorney Mike Connelly attended Tuesday’s executive session. The only item the former city attorney is serving as a consultant to the city on is the emergency amendment to eliminate the city center zone from the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan.