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

Spokane County voters overwhelmingly approve sales tax for 911 services

FILE – David Affeldt, 911 communications supervisor, stands at his station while operators take calls May 24, 2013 in Spokane. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane County’s 911 system won big support in Tuesday’s election as voters overwhelmingly approved the renewal of a sales tax.

The one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax is used to fund upgrades to emergency communication technology used by firefighters and law enforcement.

The approval means the tax, first backed in 2008, will remain in place until 2028. City and county leaders have said the funding is needed to maintain the nonemergency Crime Check 24-hour reporting service and keep radios and other equipment up to date.

“It means that people understand the need,” Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said. “I really appreciate the citizens of Spokane County for keeping the 911 services state of the art.”

County officials say the tax amounts to about $12 a year for an average household.

The measure received nearly 82 percent of the vote. In 2008, it received 66 percent. Its approval allowed officials to re-establish Crime Check, a service that was cut at the end of 2004 because of budget shortfalls.

The tax has become the largest source of funding for Crime Check.

The measure also establishes a citizen’s commission to oversee how that tax money is spent. The group will report to the county commissioners.