Newspaper Archive of
Cheney Free Press
Cheney , Washington
December 10, 2015     Cheney Free Press
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December 10, 2015

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NEWS CHENEY FREE PRESS f 9 Thursday, December 10, 2015 FROM STAFF AND NEWS SOURCES Workers' comp rates to increase 2 Percent in 2016 TUMWATER - The state De- partment of Labor & Industries (L&I) announced Dec. I thatthe average base rate Washington businesses pay for workers' compensation insurance would increase by 2 percent in 2016. Washington businesses and employees pay workers' com- pensation premiums to help cover the cost of providing wage replacement and disability ben- efits, as well as medical treat- ment of work-related injuries and illnesses. The money also goes toward building reserves to protect the workers' compensa- tion funds against unexpected costs. L&I uses wage inflation as a benchmark to help determine workers" compensation rates for the coming year because as wag- es climb, the cost of providing coverage rises. Washington's most recent wage inflation rate is 4.2 percent. The 2016 pre- mium increase is less than half that amount, in part because of significant cost saving by the agency over the last year. More seniors, disabled citizens qualify for properly tax relief in 2016 OLYMPIA - Some seniors and disabled citizens will have an easier time qualifying for property tax relief starting with their 2016 tax bill. ' Recently enacted legisla- tion (Senate Bill 5186) lifts the income limit to qualify for a property tax exemption from $35,000 to $40,000 for property owners 61 years or older, or those retired due to a service or job-related disability. The exemption applies to a person's principal residence and depends upon the com- bined disposable income of the applicant, spouse, partner and/or co-tenants occupying the same home. The legislation also raised the income limit from $40,000 to $45,000 for the deferral program, which delays property taxes for seniors and the disabled until a later date. Under the deferral program, the Washington State Depart- ment of Revenue pays the prop- erty taxes and any special assess- ments on the property owner's behalf. The deferred amount, plus interest, becomes a lien on the home until the total amount is repaid. To be eligible, the hom- eowner must be either at least 60 years old, unable to work because of a disability, or be at least 57 years old and the surviving spouse or partner of someone who was receiv- ing a deferral at the time of death. Interested homeowners should contact their local coun- ty assessor's office to apply. continued from page 1 "Our starting and ending cash was down over $640,000," Ross said. "To get it back up was a great job by staff." Ross said the city's contract with the Spokane County Sheriffs Office for law enforcement remained at the 2015 level of $852,000 even though the SCSO is proposing to reduce it by $13,000. The pricing disagreement is over rent the county pays for using City Hall's former police station, and Ross said they would probably propose some tradeoffs to resolve the dispute. All other city department's budgets reflected no changes in service levels. Medical Lake's water and sewer fund is budgeted at $3.54 million while the garbage fund comes in at $753,934. Budget document information stated the city contin- ues to negotiate with the city of Spokane for an intertie to supplement Medical Lake's water supply, with anticipatecl construction costs coming in at $500,000 should the negotia- tions be successful. The council also approved the first reading of a pair of ordinances adopting the 2016 budget and setting the compensation and salaries for all city employees. The salary ordinance reflects a 3 percent wage increase for 2016 agreed to in union contract negotiatious, and an increase in council member pay from $200 per month to $250 per month. The council salary increase applies only to newly elected or future re-elected council members. John McCallum can be reached at jmac@chen freepress. com. W=tP& KOREAN RESTAURANT LAWN & TREE CARE West Plato KARATE Oklnawan Goju-Ryu Karate ~" A~.!t,~ lvnio; Cla~ses , ClOses Tuesday, ' ..... Wednesday & Thursday Come in to register (or to observe a class) Call 509.559.5432 Free Delivery Catering Your Business or Service this size in this section for only $100 a month. ., Y.our adwJILbe orinted 50,000 times and seen on the web! Call 235-6184 for details ", Lawn Weed Control & Fertilizer "l~'ee Insect & Pest Control Shrub Bed Weed Control Bare Orour.J Treatment Pruning Mowing & Lawn Care Commercial Snow Plowing Jl Call us today for a flee estimate 10 A Street, Chene~ WA .09004 509-235-1132 Sprinkler Blowouts Pest Control Pruning ....... 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