October 24, 2013 | Vol. 117 -- No. 27

AH begins budget preparation

The annual budget season started up in Airway Heights at the Monday, Oct. 21 City Council meeting with a public hearing that outlined the budget presentation schedule over the next couple of months.

Airway Heights has a reported assessed valuation of $460.6 million, aided by its annexation to the east. The population increased by over 25 percent in the annexation. Final numbers are expected toward the end of the year in order to aid with the budget’s formation, which will roll out to the public in November and December.

The City Council heard a presentation from the Cheney School District regarding its clinic at Sunset Elementary, which has been successfully operating for the past year.

Joanna Heller, a representative from the Community Health Association of Spokane, said the clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday. A licensed health social worker is on-site Tuesday and Thursday to help with illnesses.

Over 70 percent of the students seen at the clinic were on Medicaid, with most cases largely consisting of coughs and sneezes. That time, however, that students are treated on-site saves both parents and educators in the long run.

Of note during the presentation included statistics on disciplinary notices. Last year, the school issued around 1.5 notices per day, according to the administration, and now that’s down to one notice per four days.

The clinic is looking for additional funding by applying for grants and speaking to area entities. Patient revenues at the facility only recoup 10 percent of the operating cost of the clinic. In order to fill that void, a dental center is in the works to handle some minor teeth issues.

To pay for the dental clinic, CHAS asked the City Council to consider contributing $10,000 for capital funding. The total cost of installing the dental clinic is $45,000, and an additional 100 square feet would be needed. If the office is up and running, CHAS said it would cover the school clinic’s operating costs by 60 percent, leaving the remainder for grants.

The second annual Trunk or Treat event returns to the Sunset Elementary parking lot on Halloween night, beginning at 6 p.m. There, youngsters can go around to different community members’ cars and satisfy their sweet tooth on the numerous candy offerings.

Another public hearing detailed the Community Development Block Grant project on 15th Avenue from Campbell to Lawson streets. A 6-inch steel line is being taken out and increased, which will enhance firefighters’ capabilities in the city.

Also approved at the meeting was a memorandum of understanding between the city’s Fire Department, Spokane County Fire District 10 and the Medical Lake Fire Department for training. Councilwoman Tonya Dashiell emphasized how important she believed the item was, after receiving a briefing from all three agencies earlier this year.

Included in the ordinances passed at the meeting was the first reading to change the planning commission’s monthly meeting date to the second Wednesday of each month.

“The planning commission all agreed that Wednesday worked fine for them,” Development Services Director Derrick Braaten said.

Two separate resolutions unanimously accepted by the City Council declared October as Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month as well as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

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

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