City Council Summary 082917



Spokane Valley’s City Clerk, Christine Bainbridge, was recognized as becoming Washington State’s first Athenian Leadership Society Fellow.  The honor is given under the auspices of the Washington Municipal Clerks Association for achieving ten Athenian Dialogues.  Dialogues are conversations in which clerks share their experience and understanding as it relates to their public leadership role.

Council approved a resolution requesting and urging the Washington State Legislature to adopt a solution to the Washington State Supreme Court’s Hirst decision that addresses the negative impacts resulting from that judgement.

Mike Basinger, Economic Development Manager, and Leslie Brassfield the City’s new Economic Development Specialist, updated Council on the City’s efforts in the areas of business and economic development.  They reviewed the plans created by Atlas Advertising to produce a comprehensive economic development marketing strategy whose goal was to increase permit numbers and make the city the first choice for residential and business relocations. 

Ms. Brassfield presented samples of ads that have been run, plans and implementation of social media projects, and coordinated efforts with partners such as Visit Spokane, GSI and the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce.  The marketing plan also includes digital marketing and an economic development website, together with community engagement.

In a discussion on parental rights on unvaccinated students during an outbreak at school, it was pointed out that in the recent ‘outbreak’ of mumps where several unvaccinated children were sent home, there were no provisions made for the children’s continuing classroom education.  The Washington State Board of Health produces the vaccination schedule.  A student’s parents may claim a medical, philosophical, or religious exemption for some or all required vaccines.  However, in the event of an outbreak, the local health officer has the authority to exclude all unvaccinated and under-vaccinated students from school.

In Spokane County, the health officer is the physician appointed to lead the Spokane Regional Health District.  The District’s policy is to declare an outbreak when there are two or more confirmed cases within the same building.  Once an outbreak occurs, the health officer “shall take all appropriate actions deemed to be necessary to control or eliminate action deemed to be necessary to control or eliminate the spread of the disease.”

That order is contrasted with the constitutional direction that “It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders……….”  The dilemma appears to be only resolved by legislative action.

City Manager, Mark Calhoun, presented a revised legislative agenda; revised after consultation with our 4th District Legislators and the City’s lobbyists.  Foremost among the prioritized items was the BNSF rail crossing at Barker and Trent. 

That project is roughly estimated at approximately $20 million.  While there is a general impression that no funds have been raised toward the total project cost, the City has actually accumulated a significant amount for the project. 

So far, a $720,000 Federal Earmark, $2.209 million City Earmark from real estate excise tax, $1.421 million City Earmark from its general fund, $1.5 million garnered by our state legislators and a Freight Mobility grant of 20% of the project cost. The total then is $5.850 million of accumulated cash plus the Freight Mobility grant of 20% (20% of $20 million=$4.0 million); totaling a loose estimate of $9.86 million, an indicator of the serious intent of the City to complete the project.

The Open House for the City’s new City Hall has moved from October 7th to a date to be determined.

Rod Higgins