Salary commission recommends raises for mayor, council
5/20/2019 8:41:00 AM
It appears pay hikes are in order for Liberty Lake's mayor
and governing board.
A report at the May 7 City Council meeting included news of recommended
compensation increases for council members and the mayor, the conclusion of a
salary commission that began meeting in February.
The goal of the commission, according to chair Joan Wiseman,
was "to base salaries of elected officials on realistic standards and be paid
according to the duties of their offices." The group looked at cities with a
similar "strong mayor/council" form of government as well as comparable
The last time the mayor and council received pay raises was
2014. Compensation has stood at $400 a month for council members and $1,250 for
mayor since then.
The commission's recommendation – which is binding – will
bump the mayor's pay to $2,250 per month while City Council representatives
will make $720 a month. The changes go into effect in January.
The salary commission will meet once a year, according to a
policy outlined in a revised municipal ordinance.
Transportation projects awarded funding
The news out of Olympia in late April was good for the city as
$20.7 million was approved by the state legislature for Liberty Lake
transportation projects, namely improvements along the I-90 corridor.
The funding will take effect over the next two years and
focus on the interchanges at Barker and Harvard Roads as well as a new overpass
at Henry Road -- also identified in the
city's TIF (tax increment financing) and LIFT (local infrastructure financing
tool) plans – and upgrades to local feeder streets. The city of Liberty Lake will
be responsible for any overages, currently estimated at $6 million.
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)
will manage construction. City Council will need to approval any contracts
There is still some debate as to how Liberty Lake and the
city of Spokane Valley will collaborate on the Barker Road roundabout with an
estimated cost of $2.3 million. City Administrator Katy Allen told council on
May 7 that WSDOT looks at the funded work "as one project."
A team of lobbyists hired by the city, the Central Valley
School District and the Spokane Valley Fire Department (SVFD) worked to rally
support in Olympia for the funding.
"It just goes to show
you what good leadership and collaboration can do," SVFD Fire Chief Bryan
Collins. "We're glad to be a part of it. It's an example of good government.
It's remarkable getting that kind of money moved up that quickly."
The project scope will include the Barker Road roundabout on
the north side of I-90 at Cataldo, Harvard Road Bridge widening to add a
northbound lane, a new Henry Road westbound I-90 on-ramp and the Henry road overpass.
"To connect the north side of Liberty Lake to the south side
is incredibly valuable," Allen said.
Trailhead project update
Also on May 7, City Engineer Scott Bernhard gave an update
on the Trailhead Master Plan, noting that a contract has been finalized with
Ameresco. The company is responsible for a project evaluation, expected to be
completed by May 15. City Council has identified the renovation of the
Trailhead clubhouse, pro shop and practice facilities as a top capital
facilities priority this year.
A work group is also being formed for the project with the
primary goal of compiling a Request for Proposals, Bernhard said. The group
will meet twice a month for the first few months, scaling back to once a month.
Eight applicants for the group were initially identified with seven being
selected. Four are residents of the city while city staff rounds out the group.
"I think we have a good group," Bernhard said.
The next step is to develop a Request for Qualifications for
design services. "We're really choosing someone based on their qualifications
and experience not on their proposal," said City Administrator Katy Allen. "The
proposal will come later."
City weighs in on food trucks
Director of Planning and Engineering Services Lisa Key gave
council an update on proposed amendments to the food truck ordinance on May 7.
The question is should food trucks should be allowed in the industrial zone.
Currently, all food trucks require a temporary use permit and are only allowed
during special community events and only on the public right-of-way or at
certain private functions.
The topic, which the Planning Commission discussed in a March
workshop, would allow for one food truck per property in the industrial zone
and only as an accessory use to a primary use with limited hours of operation.
Key said the city "wants to balance that with the concerns
heard from brick-and-mortar restaurants."
The more vocal feedback from local eateries was heard
several years ago when council debated a change to the food truck ordinance.
"We didn't really hear from the brick-and-mortar restaurants
this time," Key said.
The temporary use permit would be good for one year. The
city would also conduct an annual review. For nonprofit events, the city would
waive the fee.
"It's saying food trucks can be permitted outside a special
event," Key said. "We may allow to opening it up to other zones but it would
only be in the industrial zone now. At this point, the recommendation was to
keep it kind of limited and test the waters."
The next Liberty Lake City Council meeting will take place
Tuesday, May 21 at City Hall, 22710 E. Country Vista Drive, at 7 p.m. with committee
workshop discussions scheduled for 6 p.m.