More Land for Lake City? -- COEUR D'ALENE - The Lake City will add 107 acres of riverfront property to its zip code if local developers are successful in working with city officials to annex two parcels of open land on the old Crown Mill site, near Huetter. The property will become part of the Lake City Development Corporation's (LCDC) Urban Renewal District.
"What we're thinking is that you have an old mill site, with no sewer, no water, little infrastructure. We'll bring to the table different infrastructure needs," says Tony Berns, executive director of LCDC.
The developers will pay property taxes to the LCDC, then be reimbursed from that fund for the cost of sewer, water and roads.
Troy Tymesen, finance director for Coeur d' Alene, says the city doesn't know how much infrastructure on the parcels will cost.
"We're working on it parallel. We're not going to annex something and not know the cost," he says.
"The next step will be to put together annexation and the cost to develop," says Gus Johnson, Kootenai County commissioner. "All annexations work the same way -- this one's a little different because the sewer lines run the opposite way, so it'll be more expensive, but it'll be well worth it in the end."
Both city and county officials say the annexation is a friendly one benefiting both parties.
"The plan hasn't been rolled out, so the easy answer would be no, I haven't heard [of] any controversy," says Tymesen. The site, once developed, will have both residential and commercial areas. -- Cara Gardner
Budget Blues -- OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington state's budget problems continue, with Democrats and Republicans unable to agree on how to best deal with the state's crippling $2.6 billion deficit. House Democrats released their budget plan last week, which includes $730 million worth of tax increases, with most revenue coming from a 0.2 percent sales tax increase in 2003-05.
"As I understand it, the sales tax proposal is withering on the vine," says Lisa Brown, a Democratic state senator from Spokane. "The House is considering other options."
Senate Republicans, along with Gov. Gary Locke, have promised a 'no-new-taxes' budget.
"The Senate Republicans have been vociferous about no revenue," says Brown. "Their budget included a significant tax, though, and that was a nursing home bed tax. And, of course, we did pass a transportation tax."
The Republican-lead Senate budget proposal includes withholding as much as $456 million from K-12 public schools, but the Democratic-led House is expected to turn it down.
"The Senate budget has some unacceptable holes," says Brown. "Especially because they are not looking at revenue options and actually passing more tax exemptions. In total, there has been $116 million of tax exemptions passed. This is not the year to do tax exemptions."
Republicans have long promised voters there would be no tax increases, while Democrats have vowed better funding for public schools -- the question is whether tax increases or spending cuts are the way to go.
"I know we're going to have to make some tough choices," admits Brown. -- Cara Gardner
Get Bob'n -- SPOKANE -- If you put your mind to it, you can still make it. Tomorrow, April 25, is the deadline for submissions to BOBfest, the annual battle of the bands, which features middle and high school garage bands giving it all they've got in Riverfront Park.
"Bands need to send in a demo tape or CD with three songs," says Wendy Acosta, youth involvement coordinator for the city. "They can do one cover song, but at least two of them need to be original. The bands need to tell me which songs are original, and give me the author of the songs and the lyrics of all the songs as well."
Lyrics are slightly restricted: they must be non-violent and free of any ethnic, racial or disability slurs; they must express respect for sexuality and contain no derogatory language. In its ninth year, BOBfest is sponsored by the Chase Youth Commission.
"We usually get 20-30 entries, and you don't have to be from Spokane to participate. Some of our favorite bands are from Sandpoint or other places," says Acosta. "All types of music are welcome." -- Pia K. Hansen
Entries must be postmarked or hand-delivered by 4 pm, Friday, April 25 to the Youth Department on the sixth floor of city hall. Call: 625-6054.