Cheney Free Press -

Staff Reporter 

Airway Heights City Council re-heats discussion on garbage disposal


The future of solid waste disposal in Airway Heights took precedence at the Nov. 25 City Council study session.

Cheney Councilman Doug Nixon and Cheney Public Works Director Todd Ableman sat in on a workshop to discuss solid waste disposal alternatives. Airway Heights’ agreement with Spokane County expires in November next year, and needs to formalize a direction to pursue.

At face value, the big issue surrounding a solid waste contract was the finances involved.

“I think it’ll save you money in the long run. Lots of money,” Nixon said.

“I sit on the Cheney City Council and I believe you do the right thing for the people in your city. I believe that’s what you’re doing here,” Nixon said.

During the regular portion of the meeting, Public Works Director Kelly Williquette spoke regarding the affordable housing GFC incentive, which studied outcomes regarding the future of housing in Airway Heights through a few different scenarios.

As of the study session, the city’s 2014 budget still had around $8,600 more expenses than revenues in its current expense fund.

“It’s an amount that isn’t insurmountable,” city treasurer Richard Cook said.

The budget saw another reading at the Monday, Dec. 2 City Council meeting.

A discussion regarding the city’s IT services also came up during the meeting, factoring a contract between Airway Heights and Nuvodia, LLC. The contract costs $8,400 each month, which led to a suggestion of finding alternatives to the company, if possible. Among the suggestions included using computer science students at Eastern Washington University, which would come out to nearly zero cost to the city.

Police Chief Lee Bennett, however, noted that with a company like Nuvodia, if there were computer troubles throughout the city, there were multiple assistants to help. Having a contract with the university, or hiring someone for the position would mean only one person would be available.

Another item that saw lengthy discussion was the second reading of Ordinance C-810, which addresses 2013 salaries and benefits. Four of eight management positions are paid above average salaries, which caused something of a stir.

Councilman Doyle Inman spoke at length about needing to get the overpaid employees back to average, suggesting ideas on how to make that possible, such as reduced salaries and no cost of living adjustments.

The issue of Airway Heights’ representation in the Cheney School District also returned at the study session, a topic which has received some heavy discussion over the last few months.

Councilman Dave Malet said nearly 70 percent of students at Westwood Middle School are comprised of Airway Heights students, information he said he received from the school. Students take anywhere from 30-40 minutes to arrive at the school on the bus.

Given that the representation at Westwood was predominantly from the city, Malet hoped there would be an effort to encourage the students, like placing an Airway Heights banner or something similar in the school.


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