County commissioners took advantage of LIFT funding to shift dollars to pay for sewer improvements in the Liberty Lake River District area on Tuesday.
During the morning CEO briefing, the commissioners unanimously voted to transfer $198,427 from the Local Infrastructure Financing Tool fund it shares with the city of Liberty Lake to spur economic growth along the Spokane River in a 650-acrea area that is both in uncincorporated Spokane County and the city of Liberty Lake.
Under a LIFT, certain projects are guaranteed financial support from the state of Washington, which will award up to $6 million in matching funds from retail taxes if developers can come up with an equal amount of dedicated property tax revenue. The county and the city coordinate with certain state-match improvement projects and, ideally, share in those costs.
Recently, the city of Liberty Lake has fallen behind in its portion of payment for $2 million in sewer work to the Cronk Addition done by Spokane County Public Works. Katy Allen, who was hired as Liberty Lake’s city administrator in April, asked the commissioners on Tuesday to essentially pay themselves back for that work. In turn, the city would provide a $200,000 contribution to the LIFT fund.
“I’m a little bit chagrined that, in following up on some of the information on this, that we’d fallen behind,” Allen said.
Since LIFT dollars can be used for improvements in order to spur development, Spokane County attorney Jim Emacio told the commissioners that the use of LIFT dollars would be appropriate in this case.
“The reimbursement request satisfies the LIFT law,” Emacio said.