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The ordinance authorizing the City of

Spokane's involvement in the River Park Square Project -- it was referred to in "River Park Square Garage Litigation For Dummies," in The Inlander's Dec. 13 edition -- couldn't be clearer. It doesn't take a courtroom full of attorneys to figure out the City's obligation. Common sense and the ability to read one paragraph should be sufficient.

City Ordinance C-31823, adopted Jan. 27, 1997, authorizes the City's financial involvement with the River Park Square Parking Garage. Section 9 of this Ordinance (in its entirety) is as follows:

Section 9. Contingent Pledge of Parking Meter Revenue Fund.

"The City hereby pledges, as a first charge and lien, that, in the event Parking Revenues are insufficient to make Ground Lease Payments and pay Operating Expenses, the City shall loan money from the Parking Meter Revenue Fund (but only to the extent money or investments are then on deposit or allocable to the Parking Meter Revenue Fund) to the Authority's Ground Lease Account and Operating and Maintenance Account in an amount that is no more than is necessary, together with such other money as is on hand and available in the Ground Lease Account and the Operating and Maintenance Account, to permit the Authority to make Ground Lease Payments and to pay Operating Expenses. The City covenants to maintain parking meter rates at a level to produce an amount each year that, together with other legally available money loaned to the Parking Meter Fund, will equal Ground Lease Payments and Operating Expenses budgeted for that year. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the City specifically does not: (i) pledge to maintain money in the Parking Meter Revenue Fund; (ii) pledge revenue derived from the enforcement of City parking laws to the Parking Meter Revenue Fund or any transfer therefrom; (iii) pledge the City's full faith, credit and resources, or money in the City's General Fund to the payment of Ground Lease Payments or Operating Expenses; or (iv) pledge any assets of the City to the payment of Principal of or interest on the Foundation's Bonds."

To understand the city's true legal obligations, we need only to look at the authorizing legislation quoted above. The city agreed only to pledge parking meter revenue funds (not all city assets!) and only to help cover ground lease payments and operating expenses (not the principal and interest on the bonds which financed the garage in the first place). Any other "arrangements" that other parties think might exist are not authorized by statute and are unfounded.

John Covert

Spokane, Wash.


In the story, "River Park Square Garage Litigation for Dummies" (12/13/01), it was reported that Scot Auble of Auble and Associates was hired to perform an appraisal of the garage. In fact, Auble and Associates was hired, but John Evans, not Scot Auble, performed the work, which he later called a consulting assignment.

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