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Cheney Free Press
Cheney , Washington
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September 24, 2009     Cheney Free Press
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September 24, 2009
 

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'Thursday, September 24, 2009 . Free Press Page 11 i i Medical Lal{e on track-o ha aq:l off police prot,.=ction to SpokaLne County By RYAN LANCASTER Staff Reporter If all goes according to plan the city of Medical Lake will delegate law enforcement duties to the Spokane County Sheriff's Department sometime in early November, according to City Administrator Doug Ross. "We sent the contracts off to the county, now we're just wailing to receive them back with mark- ups," Ross said. Although the city made a few changes to the deal in recent weeks, including an agree- ML mayor- continued from page 1 more volunteer frefighters. A volunteer department is only as good as 'the number of volun- teers it has," he said. While he's pleased with the near-completion of a contract to delegate police services to the county, Higgins said he'd like to see expansion of emergency medical service coverage. Higgins said he's spent most of his life in Medical Lake because of its cohesive community and, while the town may have changed since he was a boy, "everybods still friendly and close-knit." If reelected, Higgins said he'll ment to allow for the hiring of five officers instead of four, Ross said he doesn't foresee the deal not going ahead. "I don't see this not happen- ing," Ross said. "This changeover is a necessity due to our circum- stances.., we really have no choice in the matter." Spokane County Sheriff's spokesman Dave Reagan said Monday the contract had already been "fine-tuned" on their end and everyth.ing will be ready to move forward by Nov. 1. • The original timeline of Octo- ber was pushed back a month to allow for five of the city's existing police force to complete the appli- cation process for reinstatement as county officers. The officers are now undergo- ing a testing process administered to all 'county law enforcement applicants, including physical, written, integrity, polygraph and psychological exams. While there is no guarantee of employment, Ross said "as long as they qualify they should be hired." Nancy Hoskins with the coun- ty's civil service commission said all of the Medical Lake officers have completed entry-level exams and are now in the psychological and polygraph portion of test- ing. While she said she isn't sure how long'the process will take to ,complete, testing personnel are "striving to meet the November timeline." Following more than a year of discussion, City Council members unanimously agreed to the idea of contracting police services after months searching for a new police chief proved fruitless. The contract is mod- eled after similar agreements fashioned by the cities of Deer Park and Spokane Valley which also delegate police duties to the Sheriff's office. Ross said while there are not yet any final numbers the price for this is expected to be around $700,000 a year, roughly $150,000 less than current costs. Ross said he couldn't ac- count for the feelings of all those in the community, but a presentation in July by Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich seems to have soothed most opposition to the plan. At that meeting, Knezov- ich said he would offer current police staff the opportunity to stay on as .long as they meet Sheriff's Office requirements, assuring residents they would have access to Crime Check and 911 in order to reach officers any time day or night. Ryan Lancaster can be reached at ryan@cheneyfreepress.com. Laura Parsons work with the West Plains Cham- ber of Commerce t bring more businesses and visitors to town. John Higgins "We're looking at ways to bring more retail in - it's never easy and we've struggled in recent years." One reason for this may be that many military personnel buy on base while others do the bulk of their shopping at out of town big box stores, Higgins said. "Medical Lake isn't like Cheney or Airway Heights. We don't have a college or a high- way running through." One thing the city does have is a plethora of com- munity events like Founder's Day, a bluegrass festival and a slew of triathlons, events Higgins would like to expand on. "We're always looking for ways to get more people in town," he said. While he said there isn't any truly unfinished business on his agenda, the mayor would like to see through a few construction projects including the $9 mil- lion Veterans Cemetery and an $800,000 road upgrade in front of Medical Lake Elementary next fall. He'd also work to keep the city's budget in the black. "With the economy the way it's been over the last two years I'm proud of the fact that we're one of the few communities that have kept a balanced budget with a little sfirplus and no raised taxes," he said. Ryan Lancaster can be reached at ryan@cheneyfreepress.com. Cheney's Ready Money moves The Cheney branch of Ready Money is moving down the street. The office, formerly lo- cated at 723 First St. will move to 502 1/2 First St., next door to the Cheney Federal Credit Union. Manager Wendy Wright said reason is simple: their lease was up. The building is being reno- vated and Wright said she hopes to open there Sept. 28. Ready Money has been offer- ing payday loans in Cheney since October 2004. Council continued from page 1 to a professional who said the building would have to be moved in three peices, costing at least $30,000. Jennings said the figure was a very rough estimate. "I'd like to see a real es- timate not a guesstimate," Councilman Doug Nixon said. Councilwoman Annette Mather asked what the building would be used for. Jennings said he would con- tinue to look into the issue. Parks and Recreation director Paul Simmons spoke about the $10,000 check to develop athletic fields. Simmons thanked Nixon for applying for the grant through Farmers Insurance, and said the Spokane Regional Sports Com- mission will accept the moneY on Cheney's behalf. He said since the SRSC is a 501-C3 organiza- tion they can accept the money tax-free. "What's exciting about it is that they set up an account that they're willing to keep open so that we can actually, go out and try to get additional funding and really use this as a starting point for donations for the 50-acre park," he said. Simmons asked the council to accept the agreement and it passed unanimously. Becky Thomas can be reached at becky@cheneyfreepress.com. 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