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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane Valley City Council strikes required registration of alarm systems

At it’s Tuesday evening meeting, the Spokane Valley City Council passed an ordinance that eliminates mandatory registration of alarm systems and makes the appeal process easier if a system owner is penalized for a false alarm.

“Most of the business owners and people I have talked to are happy we are getting rid of the registration requirement and the fee that goes along with it,” said Morgan Koudelka, senior administrative analyst. Those who have prepaid will get refund checks, Koudelka said.

Alarm system owners are still allowed one free false alarm within the first 60 days of installation.

“And later, if an officer never makes it to your house or business, there is no cost to that false alarm,” Koudelka said.

Koudelka said alarm companies have shared false information with customers for years, making it sound like false alarms don’t matter. However, that information led the Spokane Valley Police Department to chase a lot of false alarms.

“As officers respond to more and more false alarms, they have less and less time to patrol neighborhoods,” Koudelka said.

He added that fines strictly go to cover costs for the city – the city is not making any money on the fines.

It will cost $75 for a false alarm at a private home and $125 at a business address, Koudelka said. The rates were lowered last year, he said.

The ordinance passed unanimously. Councilman Sam Wood was absent.

Barker roadwork project request fails

Steve Worley, capital improvement program manager, brought forward a request for another $300,000 to finalize the design of the Barker Road Grade Separation.

A little more than $1 million has been allocated to the project ($720,000 federal earmarked funds plus $300,000 from the city). In November, the City Council indicated it would support another $300,000 to help finish the design and make the project ready to compete for the federal grants needed to build the overpass for traffic on Barker over the BNSF Railway tracks near Trent Avenue.

But on Tuesday, the motion didn’t pass as council members Ed Pace, Caleb Collier and Pam Haley voted against it, and Mayor Rod Higgins, Deputy Mayor Arne Woodard and Councilman Mike Munch voted for it. The tied vote meant that the motion failed.

Toward the end of the meeting, Woodard asked to have the Barker Road financing put back on the agenda. He said Spokane Valley is risking federal grants by not moving forward and there is no guarantee what requirements will be in the future.

Haley and Collier both said they didn’t want to “throw money” at a project that wasn’t guaranteed financing.

“If we let this go we will never see Barker Road crossed,” Woodard said. “I don’t know what it will take to get the council to go ahead with this, but I will work on it.”

New deputy city manager named

As the very last point on the agenda, Community and Economic Development Director John Hohman was appointed deputy city manager by City Manager Mark Calhoun.

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