Staff Reporter 

Airway Heights continues budget work


A second public hearing at the Monday, Nov. 4 Airway Heights City Council meeting regarding the 2014 budget covered a summary of projected expenses next year.

Continuing the beginning stages of the city’s budgeting season, City Treasurer Richard Cook went through a summary of the expenses listed in the current draft form of the 2014 budget. Largely, next year’s budget retains the same levels as this years, changing very little.

Among the transfers of money include $125,000 from the current expense fund to the street fund.

“The economy is slowly improving,” City Manager Albert Tripp said.

On the eve of election day, the city was waiting to hear whether voters would approve the creation of a transportation benefit district to raise funds for street repairs throughout Airway Heights.

Another public hearing on the budget will take place Monday, Nov. 18 at 5:30 p.m.

The City Council also approved, by a vote of 6-1, to add a second monthly study session to its schedule and to move the Planning Commission’s meetings to the second Wednesday of each month. Councilwoman Tanya Dashiell was the dissenting vote on both issues.

Also during the meeting, the City Council reappointed Jennifer Fassbender to a four-year term as municipal court judge, set to run from 2014-2017. Fassbender was sworn in by Mayor Patrick Rushing at the meeting.

An interlocal agreement with the Northeast Washington Fire Coordinating Group and Airway Heights was passed, in order to allow for timely review and certification of wildfire personnel training.

Among the ordinances passed at the meeting was the second reading to rezone the Aspen Craig Subdivision, in order to expand affordable housing opportunities in Airway Heights. Now with a multifamily zoning, R-3, Defender Developments’ Steve Emtman can build up to 15 units per acre on the property, just north of Highway 2. Emtman said the housing would be geared toward providing alternative housing for those living in mobile home parks in Accident Potential Zone Two. The city and Spokane County are actively working to reduce the density in the area, which has been cited as an encroachment concern to Fairchild Air Force Base.

The City Council suspended its rules of procedure to pass an emergency interim ordinance regarding medical and retail cannabis regulations in Airway Heights. Development Services Director Derrick Braaten said the city needed to have the item in place so that potential cannabis-related operations could submit applications to the city. The address was needed to at least collect applications for future review. The state recently set the date to accept applications beginning Nov. 16.

“If we don’t have an address, they can apply and set up,” he said.

The parks advisory board received a new member in Alissa Adams, who was approved at the meeting. Adams’ term expires Jan. 31, 2017. She said she’s lived in Airway Heights for the past year, and has been in the Spokane area for the last 10, attending school at Whitworth University.

“I’m happy to be a part of the Airway Heights community,” she said, noting that the parks are special places to celebrate events like birthdays and to just spend time outdoors.

Toward the conclusion of the meeting, Braaten once again asked for residents to sign up for one of two open seats on the planning commission. The commission canceled two recent monthly meetings due to a lack of quorum, affecting the procedure for some items requiring review. Those interested in being on the commission can call Braaten at 244-2552.

The City Council held a 15-minute executive session at the end of the meeting to discuss potential litigation facing the city. No action was taken following the discussion.

The next City Council meeting is Monday, Nov. 18 at 5:30 p.m.

James Eik can be reached at


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