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Nov 6, 2022 7 min read

It’s Election Day and budget season, go vote!

It’s Election Day and budget season, go vote!
It’s a cute piggy bank for budgeting and even the piggy voted. (Photo illustration by Valerie Osier)
Table of Contents

The proposed 2023 budget doesn’t include the 10% budget cuts the council asked the mayor for.

Buckle up, team, we have a big week ahead of us, and it peaks on Tuesday with Election Day. Dig out that ballot from your pile of mail, grab a cup of coffee, pull up your voter guides, cozy up and fill that sucker out.

Washington State makes everything extremely convenient: You can mail your ballot from any blue mail drop without needing postage, but some postal boxes pick up as early as 3 pm, so if you’re voting on Tuesday, you might want to play it safe and drop your ballot off at any one of Spokane County’s ballot drop boxes.

Earlier in the week, Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton encouraged people to vote by Saturday, saying it ensures those votes are counted in Election Night results rather than in the following days. Additionally, snow is forecasted for Election Day, meaning weather conditions may prevent you from safely dropping off your ballot last minute.

If you need help voting, you can go to a Voter Service Center register to vote, update your registration, get a replacement ballot, and get your questions answered.

Spokane City Council

Budget, Baby: It’s that time of the year again where you can tell the city council what you think about next year’s budget. The mayor makes the budget, but City Council ratifies it, and they had passed a resolution a few weeks ago that asked her to cut general fund expenses by at least 10 percent and that any public safety funds expected to be spent in 2023 are included in the 2023 budget.

The proposed budget from the mayor doesn’t include the reduction or any of their other requests. According to a release from Council Communications Director Lisa Gardner, the council is also concerned that the mayor has not identified a funding source for additional police officers or vehicles.

See the budget here.

The city council will also have a public hearing on  possible revenue sources for the 2023 budget and vote on an ordinance that would raise property taxes by 1%. This amount equates to a few dollars per property per year, according to Council President Breean Beggs. They’ve done this raise every year for more than a decade. Read more about it in civics from a few weeks ago.

Council District map changes: At the last council meeting, councilmembers decided to not approve the redistricting map recommended by the redistricting board and instead go with the map that united neighborhoods into the same council districts, drawing some anger from residents at the meeting who say that favored liberal councilmembers running for reelection. They’ll be taking a final vote on  Monday night and likely won’t make any changes because of the Nov. 15 deadline to finish redistricting. [Read Colin Tiernan’s rundown of last week’s meeting drama here.]

Building moratorium: Remember that last-minute six-month building permit moratorium in the Latah/Hangman and Grandview/Thorpe neighborhoods the council passed in September? Well now it’s time for a public hearing about it.

Money for homelessness: There’s three items in the Consent Agenda that we’re going to group together since they all have to do with homelessness. The first item is for the council to accept $372,193 in grant funds from the state Commerce Department for data tracking on the projects involving Camp Hope. The next is a contract amendment to accept an additional $358,467 of Consolidated Homeless Grant funding from Commerce. The third is a first-year funding of $427,973  for the Salvation Army Way Out Center.

Dispatch: The council will vote on a Special Budget Ordinance to add eight classified Police Radio Dispatcher I positions to build out a police dispatch unit after the changes at the Spokane Regional Emergency Communication center. This was discussed in a committee meeting a few weeks ago and you can read more background on it here (aw, it’s full circle moment).

Dam-it: The council will vote on an ordinance “affirming the use and importance of dams.” This was prompted by a June report from Gov. Jay Inslee and Sen. Patty Murray (and supported by the Biden administration) that detailed the cost to remove four lower Snake River dams. Proponents of dam removal argue it is necessary to save regional salmon runs from extinction. The resolution is supposed to “show the collective will of Spokane residents that oppose this plan in thought and action” by reaffirming the importance of dams. This resolution is sponsored by Councilmembers Jonathan Bingle and Micheal Cathcart.

Agenda here
Monday, Nov. 7 at 6 p.m.
Council Chambers in the Lower Level of City Hall.
808 W Spokane Falls Blvd, Spokane, WA 99201
The meeting is also livestreamed here.
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Spokane County Board of Commissioners

Budget roundtable: The commissioners will hold another budget roundtable on the proposed 2023 budget. This will include a presentation from the county budget office and give time for public testimony. You can see the presentation from the last roundtable here.

Save the dates: The commission has a slew of public hearings coming up, so if any of these make your ears perk up, tune in:

  • The commission will have a hearing on Nov. 29 on increasing the tax revenue from 2022 for 2023.
  • The same day, they’ll have a hearing for an ordinance that would allow All-Terrain Vehicles on public roads in the county.
  • On Dec. 5, they’ll have a hearing for the 2023 budget.

Transportation: The commission is set to vote to adopt the finalized 6-year Transportation Improvement Program. This is the county’s projects related to road work for the next six years and includes some possible traffic calming projects, adding sidewalks in some areas, improving intersections and more.

Strategic Planning Meeting: Monday, Nov. 7 at 9 a.m. (virtual here, agenda here)
Regular Session: Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. (virtual here, agenda here)
Commissioner’s Hearing Room, Lower Level
Public Works Building, 1026 West Broadway Ave.
1026 W Broadway, Spokane, WA
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Read more about how county commissioner candidates, including incumbents, feel about transparency of county business here.

Public Safety & Community Health Committee

Verified Responder Program: The committee will get an update on a county pilot program that provides AED devices and training for EMS responders so they can be notified off duty if an emergency cardiac event happens near them. A volunteer group of EMS first responders have reduced the time it takes to get emergency cardiac care, which is crucial to the improved survival rate of patients, according to the agenda notes.

The program is looking for funding from Spokane County and other municipalities to be fully operational in 2023 and 2024.

Agenda here
Monday, Nov. 7 at 1:15 p.m.
Council Chambers in the Lower Level of City Hall.
808 W Spokane Falls Blvd
The meeting is also livestreamed here.

Spokane Plan Commission

New walkable development alert: Okay, maybe it’s not breaking news, but this commission is getting an update on the South Logan Transit-Oriented Development, which is a mixed-use, walkable development along the bus rapid transit route, STA’s City Line. Logan is an existing, historic (and traditionally low-income) neighborhood and the south end is largely taken up by Gonzaga, so this isn’t a new development like Kendall Yards. It’s more of a transit revision that, in the words of the planners, “will support more connectivity and livability in the South Logan area close to transit.”

The update will include a briefing on a community survey, a StoryMap tool that lets people learn more about the project and the conditions in the area, so we’ll get to see how the neighborhood feels about the proposed changes. You can find more details on the project here.

Agenda here
Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 2 p.m.
The meeting is hybrid with access link in the agenda
Council Chambers in the Lower Level of City Hall
808 W Spokane Falls Blvd

Spokane Park Board

The agenda wasn’t available at the time of publication.

Agenda here (once posted)
Thursday, Nov. 10 at 3:30 p.m.
Council Briefing Center
808 W Spokane Falls Blvd

Spokane School District Board of Directors

Levy certs: The school board will vote on a resolution to certify that they are collecting the money from the Education Programs and Operation Levy approved by voters in February 2021. The resolution establishes that the county assessor will collect $73,800,000 for payment of principal and $59,800,000 for interest on bonds, but the actual tax rate will be set by the county assessor based on the levy certification and actual 2022 assessed property values.

Updates: The school board will also get updates on district learning and school support services, like academic programs and student interventions. They’ll also get an update on the district’s transportation services, specifically on how the district is addressing the national bus driver shortage.

Agenda here
Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.
Boardroom, SPS Administration Building
200 N. Bernard
Watch virtually here.

Mead School District Board of Directors

Setting boundaries: In the consent agenda, the school board is set to approve the new district director boundaries, which needed to be adjusted after the last census showed population changes made the former districts imbalanced. The district held public meetings discussing the boundary changes and no one made public comments.

There will also be a presentation on the year-end financial report.

Agenda here
Monday, Nov. 7 at 6 p.m.
Union Event Center
12509 N. Market St. Bldg. D, Mead, WA 99021
Watch via Zoom here.

Central Valley School District Board of Directors

Next week, but important to know now: CVSD will be reviewing their Gender Inclusive Schools and Equity Policies and Procedures on Monday, Nov. 14 at 6:30 p.m.

Advocates for gender inclusivity in schools worry that this might be a beacon for Christian Nationalists and anti-LGBTQ people to swarm another school board meeting. It appears an ad showed up in the November 2022 edition of a Liberty Lake paper pronouncing the board will be discussing a “TRANSGENDER POLICY” along with “CRT/DEI.” The ad is fairly vague, saying in part “Please come learn what is happening in your children’s schools.” The agenda for the meeting is unavailable so far, but will be at the link below when it is posted.

Agenda here
Monday, Nov. 14 at 6:30 p.m.
Learning and Teaching Center
2218 N Molter Rd Liberty Lake WA
Watch via Zoom here

Spokane Regional Transportation Council Board of Directors

Approving plans: The board will be voting on adopting the 2022 update of the Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan, which is basically the guiding document of public transportation needs for the region. The county needs this to apply for any state and federal grants. You can find more information on the plan here.

The board will also vote on adopting the 2023 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Guidebook, which is a document for projects that are planned over the next four years.

Just discussing: The board will be discussing a draft of the Unified List of Regional Transportation Priorities, which tells state and federal legislatures their transportation priorities so they can get funding for them.The board will also discuss the SRTC’s equity planning framework.

Agenda here
Thursday, Nov. 10 at 1 p.m.
The meeting is hybrid with an access link in the agenda
421 W Riverside Ave, Suite 504
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