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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Washington Voices

Levy vote’s failure casts shadow over contract for police

The town of Rockford faces uncertainty after a law enforcement levy to pay for the town’s contract with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office lost big at the ballot box this month.

The measure sought to raise $33,000 by imposing a levy of $1.43 per $1,000 in assessed home value in 2014. In recent years the town has struggled to pay for the contract out of its limited general fund budget.

Mayor Micki Harnois said the City Council has not yet decided whether to try again later this year. A town hall meeting with Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich next week may provide more information, Harnois said.

Harnois said she isn’t surprised that the levy didn’t pass, but she was surprised that 70 percent of voters voted against it. “I don’t think the taxpayers knew that we have to, by law, do this,” she said of the town’s contract with the Sheriff’s Office. “They thought we could make a choice on whether we have it or not. If we don’t do it ourselves, we have to contract.”

Some people said that they didn’t think the town needed a law enforcement presence, Harnois said. “About once a week there’s always some type of crime, whether it’s theft or drugs or stolen things,” she said.

If the levy is put back on the ballot the city would do some voter education ahead of time, which Harnois said wasn’t done this time around. “We’ll just have to take a different approach for sure, if that’s the way the council decides to go,” she said.

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