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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Liberty Lake aquatic center falling short, Airway Heights recreation facility passing in early count

The fire department that serves most of northern Spokane County will get a boost in funding, and voters in Airway Heights likely will approve a $13 million recreation center.

But the primary results Tuesday night showed Liberty Lake falling short of the votes needed for a proposed $12 million community center.

Emergency services levy passes easily: Spokane County’s Fire District 4 asked voters to increase its emergency medical services levy to 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, a request that was passing Tuesday night with 73 percent of the vote.

The levy has been in place since the 1990s and has been renewed by voters every six years. Since 2010, the rate was 33 cents per $1,000.

The higher rate will cost the owner of a $200,000 home about $8.33 per month. The levy will raise $1 million a year for the district, or about 20 percent of its total budget.

The district responded to 3,100 calls in 2015, the most ever, Chief Randy Johnson said. Without the levy, the department would have had to close stations and lay off firefighters, he said.

Airway Heights recreation center leading: The first count of ballots showed voters narrowly approving a $13 million recreation center in Airway Heights. The bond measure needed 60 percent approval, and it had 62 percent.

The facility, to be built just northwest of the Spokane County Raceway, will include an indoor pool, basketball courts, a gym and a multipurpose room – part of a larger, 70-acre recreation complex the city hopes to pursue if the bond passes.

The bond measure will tax residents $1.398 per $1,000 of assessed property value, or about $210 annually for a $150,000 home, for 30 years.

The $13 million is for capital construction only. City officials are considering charging fees to cover maintenance and operating expenses.

Liberty Lake bond falls short: Liberty Lake voters were rejecting a $12 million, 50,000-square-foot community center called Town Square, with 55 percent voting in favor of Liberty Lake Proposition 1. The measure needed 60 percent to pass.

The project would have included an aquatic facility with two outdoor pools, a new library with a few multipurpose rooms, and a communal area large enough for 240 people.

Liberty Lake Mayor Steve Peterson said Tuesday night he remained hopeful that late counting would turn the result in favor of passage.

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