The chambers at City Hall may have remained dark this week, but the spotlight will fall on two thorny topics – the budget and one-way Sprague Avenue – during two meeting of the Spokane Valley City Council next Tuesday.
First up, council members will head to CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place, at 9 in the morning June 14 for the annual summer retreat. In the past, this time has been reserved for a host of topics; but in the last couple of years, the focus has been almost entirely on the city budget.
The daylong session – talks aren’t expected to wrap up until 4 p.m. – will also serve as a primer of sorts for two newly appointed council members, Arne Woodard and Chuck Hafner, who will get their first real look at the city budget from the inside out.
Last year, the council looked at potential budget reductions at 3, 6 and 9 percent. Council members directed staff not to fill any vacant city personnel positions and to keep a 15-percent budget carry over as a rainy day fund from 100.3 million in resources.
If the council takes a similar stance this year, inflation, rising costs of doing government business, and expanding contract costs must all be taken into account.
Next up, the council will hold its regularly scheduled 6 p.m. meeting at Spokane Valley City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague. The agenda item likely to attract the most attention is a revisiting of the configuration of the Sprague-Appleway corridor.
Last year, Council Member Dean Grafos first broached the idea of holding a ballot measure to decide the issue once and for on whether Sprague and Appleway should remain one-way thoroughfares between Argonne and University. The 2010 $2.7 million price tag to do the work would likely have to be paid for through property taxes and the issuing of bonds.
Several businesses in the affected area – with the support of the Spokane Valley Business Association – have long advocated for a return to two-traffic on Sprague as evening drive-by traffic is heading east on Appleway or on the widened freeway.
New cost information and the logistics of making any sort of change to the direction of Sprague and Appleway is expected to be presented to the council by city staff.