December 20, 2012 | Vol. 116 -- No. 35

Medical Lake ends 2012 on quiet note

Some streets will receive needed chip seals in 2013

By JAMES EIK

Staff Reporter

The Medical Lake City Council went in to the last meeting of the year with a small agenda, but with some important housekeeping items.

Some positive budget news came in, according to Finance Director Jennifer Hough, as the city’s general fund appeared healthier than expected. The unanticipated funds were a welcome sight at the meeting, especially on the heels of passing next year’s budget.

“It’s nice to see a little more money than we had anticipated,” City Administrator Doug Ross.

The city has been operating under a spending freeze for the last part of the year, only purchasing critical items for its operation. Mayor John Higgins said that same scenario was likely to continue, as he mentioned at a previous council meeting, for the first part of next year.

“Even though we’re probably doing better than we thought, I’m probably going to keep the spending at a minimum for the first quarter,” he said.

The city will be adding an online application process for its utilities discount for seniors and disabled residents. Ross said the program is accessible for those 62 years old and above, and who meet 50 percent of the medium household income for the Spokane region, which is $30,100.

Residents qualifying for the program receive a 25 percent reduction in their base rates.

Councilman Art Kulibert was appointed as Medical Lake’s representative to Spokane Transit Authority’s small cities board, with Airway Heights Mayor Patrick Rushing serving as an alternate.

The City Council approved an agreement with the McMullen Law Office for legal representation. The contract lasts until Dec. 31, 2018, and can be renewed for additional one-year periods.

Some streets in Medical Lake will see chip sealing next year, courtesy of the Transportation Improvement Board. Jefferson, Fourth and Lake Street will all see some upgrades next year, likely later in the summer. Ross received an estimate earlier in the day, showing the work was going to cost around $182,000 for the TIB.

“It’s really nice to see it actually happening,” Ross said. “We have confirmation that it’s actually happening.”

Keeping with the holiday season, Fire Chief Jeff Estes said Santa’s sleigh will be out in the town Wednesday evening through Friday evening.

Ross reiterated that City Planner Glenn Scholten was retiring at the end of the month, and was busy finishing up some projects before leaving.

The first council meeting in January 2013 was cancelled, as it falls on New Year’s Day. As such, the next City Council meeting will take place Monday, Jan. 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers.

James Eik can be reached at james@cheneyfreepress.com.

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