October 11, 2012 | volume 116, issue 25

Street to be named for McKeehan

By BECKY THOMAS

Staff Reporter

Tuesday night, the Cheney City Council responded to what Mayor Tom Trulove called the largest community outpouring of his mayoral career.

“I have never received more public comment,” he said. “This is an issue a large number of people have urged us to take action on.”

The council voted unanimously to name a new city street “Mike McKeehan Way” after longtime Cheney teacher and City Councilman Mike McKeehan, who died suddenly this summer.

Public Works director Todd Ableman told the council that the new street would be paved this week and signs bearing McKeehan’s name would be posted soon.

The council also started budget talks at Tuesday’s meeting, beginning with a presentation on revenues projected for the city in 2013.

Taxes will continue to make up the majority of the city’s revenue. Finance director Cindy Niemeier projected 20.7 percent of revenue to come from sales tax, 18.6 percent from utility tax and 18.8 percent from property tax. Sales and property taxes were expected to decline slightly in 2012, but Niemeier projected an increase in both taxes in 2013.

Niemeier highlighted trends in liquor profits and excise taxes, noting that with liquor privatization the state changed that way it distributed tax revenues back to cities. The city received two one-time payments this year from the sale of state liquor stores and distribution licenses, but the future of liquor profits was unclear.

“Until I see some (local liquor) sales figures, until I see some reporting, which I haven’t seen yet, it’s difficult to gauge,” she said.

The council will hold public hearings on different parts of the budget over its next few meetings, with a goal to approve the 2013 document by the end of November.

The council also voted to settle a lawsuit with New Cingular Wireless, which had sued many Washington cities for illegally collecting utility taxes on cell phone use after a change in federal law. Cheney would return $9,400 in taxes to NCW over the course of two to three years.

Becky Thomas can be reached at becky@cheneyfreepress.com.

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