Spokane City Council Approves Budget

By Steve Jackson

Monday night the Spokane City Council voted 4-3 to freeze the city general fund budget, largely accepting the recommendations of Mayor David Condon.

Condon proposed a $161 million general fund, a  budget that will eliminate19 police officer positions that were vacant. It cuts the on-duty firefighting force from 61 to 58 and removes the first-response firefighting capabilities of Fire Station 9 on the South Hill.

It also eliminates the arts, and weights and measures departments.

Councilmember Amber Waldref was one of the three council members who voted against the budget.

Waldref said she was disappointed council members also rejected a one percent property tax increase, saying that increase would have specifically gone to address public safety funding.

Councilmember Mike Fagan voted to approve the budget, pointing out that the city has more financial headaches on the way.

While Jon Snider was critical of giving pay increases to some administrators while at the same time making layoffs, Mayor Condon said many of  those getting raises are taking on significantly more duties because of other management positions that were eliminated. He said seven management positions were eliminated by his budget.

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