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Medical Lake receives fire dispatch refund


Last updated 2/18/2021 at 11:42am

MEDICAL LAKE — City coffers were expanded a bit by an unexpected financial surprise recently.

At the Feb. 2 City Council meeting, Spokane County District 3 Fire Chief Cody Rohrbach told members that with the coming online of the new Spokane Regional Emergency Communications system last year, replacing the older Combined Communications Center, funds some agencies had paid into a reserve fund supporting the older system were no longer needed.

“Some of those funds were redistributed back to the folks who paid in, I’m sure that was a pleasant surprise for Medical Lake, so glad to see that,” Rohrbach said.

And it was — in the form of a $42,325.92 refund check.

Part of the refund stemmed from the fact the new SREC is fully funded and operation. Since the early 1990s, the CCC had provided emergency communications for the region, but in an effort to streamline administration and the methodology for handling calls, the administration of former Spokane Mayor David Condone initiated creation of the SREC.

The SREC went live in July 2019, but the former CCC also remained in place servicing the city of Spokane. Eventually that was phased out and the SREC took over handling all calls this past summer.

Regardless of the arrangement, receiving some money back for a change was something unexpected for Medical Lake officials.

It’s funny,” City Administrator Doug Ross told the council. “You know I was joking with Cody, we got check and Karen (Finance Director Lanford) had to call and ask what it was for because we don’t ever get checks from the city of Spokane so it was a very pleasant surprise.”

Also at the Feb. 2 meeting, the council unanimously approved renewal of a contract for on-call planning services with SCJ Alliance. The city has used the firm for several years, and it is currently engaged in handling Medical Lake’s Shoreline Master Program under a separate contract.

Ross said terms of the contract are the same as before, with the city paying up to $30,000 for planning assistance as needed. He told council he didn’t believe the city had ever spent more than $15,000 on annual planning with SCJ through the contract in the past.

John McCallum can be reached at


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