By just about any standard, the newly sworn-in Spokane Valley City Council has moved fast this past month.
So it made sense that – before taking some time off this week to advance its legislative agenda in Olympia – the council took some time on Jan. 19 to talk about its upcoming goals.
But, before that, it will have to take care of some unfinished business.
Next Tuesday, the City Council will have to lay out its plans to replace City Manager David Mercier, who was asked to resign at the new council’s first meeting on Jan. 5. While the best guess is that the council will attempt to keep Deputy Manager Mike Jackson in the job for the foreseeable future, it’s possible council members could choose to move forward with a search for a new manager altogether. This could be accomplished by either a less-expensive in-house interview process or contracting with a firm that would conduct a larger, more comprehensive search.
Also Feb. 2, the council also is set to discuss the status of property negotiations for a potential new City Hall at University City. Council Member Dean Grafos, in particular, has singled this out as a subject that the council needs briefing on and has made no secret his desire that any efforts to secure land by the city should be suspended.
Beyond that, the council has its “winter retreat” scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, at CenterPlace. While the retreats have been traditionally weekend events, this time around the council has a series of subjects planned to fill the entire day up until 4 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.
Several topics will get airings at the winter retreat, including whether or not the council wants to continue Spokane Valley’s (and, prior to incorporation, Spokane County’s) policy of full-width paving after sewer lines are laid out under the county’s Septic Tank Elimination Program. The city’s budget goals will also be reviewed, and an update of the city’s financial forecast will be presented.
At the regular council meeting on Feb. 9, the city will take up the subject of the extension of Appleway Boulevard to the east of University Road. More specifically, the council will be briefed on the status of negotiations with Spokane County and whether or not county commissioners will be willing to turn over the right-of-way to Spokane Valley. Previous negotiations have been unsuccessful.
Further down the schedule, the council will be briefed on the new wastewater treatment plant (Feb. 16) and amending the Sprague-Appleway Revitalization Plan (not yet determined).
On Jan. 12, Grafos said he would also like to address the amount of money the city collects on property taxes, the contract with the sheriff’s office and setting up a joint meeting with Spokane County commissioners.
Last week, Grafos added he also wanted to discuss adding more crosswalks across Sprague Avenue, especially in the areas around University City and Auto Row west of Dishman-Mica Road. He also said past city budgets have “disappeared” from the city’s Web site and should be returned.