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2009 Public Safety Bond Citizen Information

Release Date: 1/28/2009 12:00:00 PM

Contact: Marlene Feist, 625-6740

The 2009 Public Safety Bond will be considered by City of Spokane voters as part of the March 10, 2009, election. This information is designed to provide citizens with the basic factual information they need to make an informed decision.

Background

Citizens of the City of Spokane routinely identify public safety as the most important service provided by their local government. While basic tax dollars pay for officers on our streets, court operations, and police records, the City has identified four public safety needs that are of high priority and require funding beyond regular operational dollars.

The Needs

The four top-priority public safety needs include:

  • Property and Evidence Facility. The City of Spokane's Police Department manages more than 140,000 items in an antiquated property and evidence facility. The current facility has no fire suppression, leaks, and suffered structural damage during this season's heavy snowfall. By agreement, this facility serves Spokane County, City of Spokane Valley, Spokane Regional Drug Task Force, Spokane Public Schools, and the Spokane Fire Department, in addition to the City. Without a new facility, scores of criminal cases could be at risk. The new facility would serve the community's property and evidence storage needs in a high-security setting for the next 15 or more years.
  • Municipal Court location. At the start of 2009, the City of Spokane created its own Municipal Court to meet state requirements and allow for improved criminal justice services. The City is working on a permanent home for Municipal Court functions and has identified a building on West Gardner that is appropriate. Funds are needed for the City to purchase this building or find another suitable location.
  • Animal Control facilities. The City has been working for a number of years to find a long-term solution to improving animal control services. After an extensive evaluation process with significant citizen input, the Spokane City Council determined the best way to handle animal control services for the future is through a coordinated effort with the Spokane County SCRAPS program. The Council voted to proceed with this plan last spring. Funds are needed to build an expansion to the SCRAPS facility to accommodate animals from the City of Spokane.
  • Police Shooting Range refurbishment. The Spokane Police Department's outdoor tactical shooting range is another regional facility, used by all local law enforcement and new officers attending academy training. Current zoning regulations would make it very difficult to construct a new outdoor range within the County. Work would include replacement of the 20-year-old targeting system, the addition of a rifle range, the addition of training buildings for bomb and SWAT teams, and an environmental cleanup and other enhancements to the range's "backstop" which will reduce ricochets.

The Proposal

Spokane City voters are being asked to consider an $18.52 million Public Safety Bond to address these four priorities:

  • $11.8 million planned for the Property & Evidence Facility.
  • $2 million for the Municipal Court location.
  • $4.2 million for the Animal Control facilities.
  • $0.5 million for the Police Shooting Range refurbishment.

In a vote on January 12, 2009, the Spokane City Council approved the Bond Issue's addition to the March 10, 2009, ballot. All of the money raised through the 2009 Public Safety Bond would be spent on the four public safety priority needs.

The Bond would be paid for through an assessment on property. It is designed to be paid off in 20 years. Property owners annually would pay about 9.7 cents for each $1,000 in assessed valuation. That means the owner of a $100,000 property would pay 81 cents a month or $9.69 a year toward repayment of the Bond. For a $200,000 property, the annual payment would be $19.37.

A printable fact sheet about the 2009 Public Safety Bond.

City of Spokane utility bill insert.

Informational video.

Register to vote

Voter registration forms are available on-line at www.spokanecounty.org/elections. Voter registration forms must be postmarked no later than Feb. 7, 2009, for those who wish to register by mail. People also can register in person until Feb. 23 at the Spokane County Elections Department, 1033 W. Gardner Ave. For more information, call the County Elections Office at 477-2320.

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