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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Deadlines bedevil Spokane County prosecutor’s office

Efforts to reduce Spokane County’s jail needs through swift justice have hit a “significant roadblock” in the prosecutor’s office, commissioners were told Tuesday. Once again, jail consultant David Bennett told commissioners, the prosecutor’s office is regularly failing to file formal charges within 72 hours.

County may raise fair admission

Going to the fair would cost more this summer under a proposal Spokane County commissioners will consider at 2 p.m. today. The commissioners also plan to act on Assessor Ralph Baker’s request for $560,000 worth of aerial photography.

County to cut 150 workers

Spokane County will eliminate more than 150 positions from the payroll next year as commissioners struggle to cover expected shortages in the general fund and other sources of money. With a budget resolution due for a vote this afternoon, commissioners turned down pleas Monday to spare some criminal justice departments from some or all the cuts. Most union employees who remain will get cost-of-living increases, although many will be required to take furloughs, or unpaid time off.

County attorney says Fox funding was legal

Spokane County commissioners shifted the source of funding for The Fox theater this week, but their attorney insisted the original plan to take money from the county’s share of the hotel-motel tax was legal. Deputy Prosecutor Jim Emacio, the county’s chief civil attorney, said the county has given some of that tax money to The Fox or the Spokane Symphony off and on since 1985. The amounts have ranged from $10,000 in the early years to a high of $22,000 in 1999.

County shifts funds for Fox contribution

Spokane County commissioners shifted the source of funding for The Fox theater this week, but their attorney insisted the original plan to take money from the county’s share of the hotel-motel tax was legal.

City on the road to peaceful growth

Spokane County has raised a white flag. After years spent fighting Spokane’s growing city limits, county commissioners are taking a friendlier stance on what would be the largest expansion of Spokane’s city limits in a century.

Testimony sought on zone change

Spokane County residents get a chance Tuesday to sound off on proposed changes to the zoning law that covers certain housing developments in rural areas. County commissioners will take public testimony on proposed changes on rural cluster development, a topic that pits residents who want to preserve the rural character of some areas such as Green Bluff and Peone Prairie against developers and their neighbors hoping to switch their land from agriculture to family homes.

Swim budget drying up

Spokane County may close Holmberg Park swimming pool next year because of budget problems. The pool, which is the county park system’s oldest, has the lowest attendance and the highest cost per swimmer, and is the farthest away from recovering its costs from swimming fees, Parks Director Doug Chase told county commissioners Tuesday. The pool, a basic tank with racing lanes, is more than 40 years old and doesn’t have amenities such as splash pads or slides, Chase said. More than half of the pool’s attendance comes from swimming lessons.

County’s sewer project gets officially under way

One of the largest public works projects in Spokane County history, which has been nearly 30 years in the making, got its official start Thursday as local officials “turned dirt” for the $140 million wastewater treatment facility. Standing on land once occupied by stockyards off Freya Street, elected and appointed government leaders from the county, the city of Spokane Valley and the city of Spokane stuck shovels into the pre-softened soil and complimented one another for their cooperation.

Law enforcement billing hearing delayed

The Washington state auditor is being asked to help resolve a $2 million dispute between Spokane County and the city of Spokane Valley over law enforcement costs. But discussing the audit is creating a dispute within the dispute. The quarterly joint meeting between the two government bodies, when the audit was supposed to be released, was scheduled for Wednesday. It was canceled Friday after Valley city officials said they wanted to read the audit before discussing it in public.

Spokane County adds health care incentive to retire early

Hoping to trim payroll costs, Spokane County will begin encouraging early retirement for eligible employees. As an incentive, the county will help with the cost of medical insurance for those taking advantage of the voluntary program until Medicare kicks in.

Doug Clark: Layoffs plus raises equals funny math

Reading that hefty automatic pay raises have been handed to some of our highest paid Spokane County officials made me realize that the newspaper is still the best delivery system for imparting horrible news. See, a newspaper reader can avoid stroking out by shaking the newsprint violently while screaming …

No decision on financing for plant

Spokane County commissioners had a novel idea Wednesday about helping to pay for the new sewage treatment plant the county’s trying to build: Perhaps the city of Spokane Valley, whose residents would represent about three-fourths of the facility’s customers, could be on the hook for some portion of it, if money gets tight. The suggestion caught Valley officials “like a deer in the headlights,” City Manager Dave Mercier said.