Cheney Free Press -

By John McCallum
Cheney Free Press 

Cheney council holds special meeting June 15

Business park, public safety funding and Covid-19 funds usage to be discussed

 

Last updated 6/16/2021 at 1:30pm



CHENEY -- Changing zoning in the city's Industrial and Commerce Park, how to fund public safety and how to spend almost $3.5 million in American Recovery Plan Act money will be the subject of a June 15 special City Council meeting.

The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. in the Wren Pierson Community Center multipurpose room, the first in-person meeting since March 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions. The meeting will be limited capacity, and will also be available online via a Zoom link.

The city is proposing changing the zoning of its Industrial and Commerce Park from Business Park to Light Industrial. The move is being sought partly because of discussions surrounding a lease agreement with a local group of businessmen seeking to develop in the park.

During discussions, city officials tentatively agreed to allowing a 340-space self-storage facility to be built in the park. Self-storage facilities are not permitted under the Business Park zoning, but are permitted under Light Industrial.

At their meeting in May, the Planning Commission declined to hold a recommendation on whether or not to endorse the proposed zoning change.

Council will also discuss funding police and fire services in the city in the wake of a decision last fall invalidating the citizen approved levy lid lift. The lid lift passed in 2015 with almost 60 percent yes vote, raising property taxes permanently to the maximum allowed under law and dedicating that extra taxing to public safety.

In November, the Washington Department of Revenue determined that state law only allowed for a six-year levy lift, not a permanent lift. The city has collected the extra taxes since 2016 -- funding that has helped pay for a variety of public safety needs from additional police officers to a new main fire engine -- but will not be able to do so in 2022 under the 2015-approved lift.

Finally, the city is slate to receive $3,495,491 from in coronavirus assistance funding under the American Recovery Plan Act, passed by Congress in March. Council is looking for guidance on how best to use this funding.

The meeting will be a limited-capacity, in-person at the Wren Pierson Community Center. It will also be online via Zoom, with the link available on the city's website under the Agendas & Minutes tab.

John McCallum can be reached at jmac@cheneyfreepress.com.

Author Bio

John McCallum, Managing Editor

John McCallum is an award-winning journalist who has been with the Cheney Free Press for over 20 years. He has received 10 Washington Newspaper Publisher Association awards for journalism and photography, including first place awards for Best Investigative, Best News and back-to-back awards in Best Breaking News categories. He has been serving as editor of the Spokane Valley News Herald since March 2020.

Email: jmac@cheneyfreepress.com
Phone: 509-235-6184
https://www.facebook.com/john.mccallum.98
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