Become a RANGE member during March Matchness and multiply your impact!
Learn more
Jan 29, 2023 3 min read

Pass the salt — spice up a slow week in local government

Pass the salt — spice up a slow week in local government
(Photo illustration by Valerie Osier)
Table of Contents

CIVICS | County funding renewed for key behavioral health programs.

We have an abnormally light week in civics for you: it appears City Hall is still dealing with technical issues that are preventing virtual meeting attendance, and because of that, council is avoiding voting on anything controversial. So, the council agenda is very light this week and even the county commission is low on interesting items. Either way, we’re here to tell you what’s going on.

Spokane City Council

Don’t get salty: Normally we might brush past this item, but it’s a little interesting given the issue of climate change. The city council is set to pass an emergency resolution to bypass public bidding and buy $100,000 worth of magnesium-infused road salt because the frequent winter snow and ice we’ve been getting in the region this season caused a shortage from their usual supplier. That supplier also supplies the state of Washington, which has a clause in their contract that they get salt first, making it impossible for Spokane to get what they need.

An interesting and related tidbit: The US has actually had major road salt shortages for years. With that and how much damage road salt can cause the environment and waterways, Washington State University researchers have been looking for alternatives, like beet juice and sand.

Grants: In the consent agenda, the council is poised to accept and distribute a $2.8 million grant from the state Department of Commerce to house people. $2 million of that grant will go to Trent Shelter, $656,625 will go to Housing Navigators for Rapid Re-housing and $150,000 will go to United Way for diversion.

In another consent item, the Community, Housing, and Human Services department is asking the council for permission to accept  several million dollars in grant money from Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): a $3.1 million Community Development Block Grant, a $279,815 Emergency Solutions Grant, and a $1.4 million HOME Investment Partnerships Grant

Agenda here
Monday, Jan. 30 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 live streamed here.

Board of County Commissioners

Contract: In the consent agenda (what is now being called “Various resolutions, agreements, contracts and grants”), the county commission will enter into a $15.3 million contract with the Washington State Health Care Authority to continue to provide behavioral health crisis services for much of northeastern Washington in 2023. Spokane administers state programs covering Adams, Ferry, Lincoln, Pend Orielle, Spokane and Stevens counties.

This contract covers a broad range of programs including homeless outreach, crisis responder teams that work alongside police to respond to people experiencing mental health crises and behavioral support for people who have been arrested and are awaiting competency evaluations before they stand trial.

For more on the behavioral health unit and its role in crisis response and diverting people from jail check out this article from Julien A. Luebbers in The Spokesman-Review.

Public hearings: If traffic codes and load limits get your blood pumping, we have a few public hearings for you this week: the commission will hold public hearings on adding and removing load limits on about six small bridges throughout the county.

They’ll also hold a public hearing on amending the county code to change the composition of the Shooting Area Advisory Committee to reflect the change in composition of the county commission, which went from three commissioners to five this year.

Agenda here
Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 2 p.m.
Public Works Building
1026 W Broadway, Spokane, WA
Commissioner’s Hearing Room, Lower Level
We're here every week to dig into public meeting agendas in order to give you the tools to demand better of our elected officials. If you want to support this work, become a member starting at $10/month, up your membership, or send us a one-time tip.

Spokane School District Board of Directors

Student voices: The Spokane school board is going to get an update on the district’s student voice group model pilot. The program has each school establish a representative group of students to provide their school site and the district with feedback. Learn more about the program here.

Agenda here
Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m.
Boardroom, SPS Administration Building
200 N. Bernard
Watch virtually here.

Spokane Human Rights Commission meets at 5:30 on Thursday in the city council briefing room. The agenda has yet to be posted, when it is you can find it here.

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to RANGE Media.
Your link has expired.
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.