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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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County leaders offer ’12 budget

Kootenai County commissioners are proposing a 2012 budget almost $3 million higher than this year’s, but they say property taxes won’t increase because $4 million will be used from reserve funds. Several county reserve funds have risen to levels well beyond what is needed, said Commissioner Dan Green, who took office in January. “We are going to draw them down to prudent levels,” Green said. “Right now we have extra money.”

Kootenai County cuts staff

Kootenai County has eliminated another 10 positions, bringing to 20 the number of staff reductions that have occurred since two new commissioners took office in January. The recent reductions in the adult misdemeanor probation, juvenile probation, building and grounds, noxious weeds and solid waste divisions will result in almost $430,000 in savings from annual wages and benefits, the commissioners said in a news release.

Kootenai, Spokane counties think big

What if: • Kootenai County’s free Citylink bus system connected with Spokane Transit Authority routes to allow commuters to travel back and forth across the state line?

Kootenai County commissioners reorganize departments

The Kootenai County Board of Commissioners – with two newly elected members – recently cut 10 positions and reorganized some departments, resulting in savings estimated at $415,000 a year. Commissioner Dan Green said an internal review began with the previous administration and continued when he and Commissioner Jai Nelson took office in January, resulting in the changes.

BNSF resists more aquifer funding

Each year, BNSF Railway Co. pays about $100,000 for programs that protect the Spokane Valley/Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer. The money is funneled through the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, where it helps teach school kids about the aquifer that provides drinking water to more than 500,000 of the region’s residents; pays for inspections of industrial sites, including BNSF’s diesel refueling depot in Hauser; and funds collaborative work with other agencies aimed at keeping the aquifer free of contaminants.

Vestal: BNSF derails its ‘good neighbor’ policy

Remember Livingston. Whatever the outcome of the BNSF Railway Co.’s lawsuit against Kootenai County – in which the railroad argues that the county has no power to make sure it’s not spilling fuel into our drinking water – remember Livingston.

New commissioners want restructuring vote

The two Republicans who won election to the Kootenai County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday appear to be philosophically aligned on at least two key issues facing the county. Dan Green and Jai Nelson both say that when they take office in January they’ll push for a ballot measure to restructure county government so daily operations are run by a hired administrator. They also both intend to hold the line on property taxes or decrease them by using money from reserve funds.