Spokane City Council votes no on alternate revenue allocation for photo red | News
A resolution that would give City of Spokane neighborhoods a choice on how they spend allocated funds from photo red infractions was shot down Monday evening. City council chose to oppose an idea 6-1 that would allow neighborhoods to pay a one-time fee of up to $8,000 for the start-up cost of a Spokane C.O.P.S venue.
The sponsor of Monday's resolution, councilman Steve Salvatori, said he wanted this to pass so neighborhoods could have a choice on how to spend their share and even tackle crime.
The ordinace dates back to 2007 when the council originally allocated the infraction revenue to some neighborhoods going through development. In 2010, the ordinance was altered to allow the funds to be allocated to all the neighborhoods.
It takes about $5-7,000 to help pay for the infrastructure of a neighborhood cop shop which includes computers, phones and some amenities. Salvatori stated in Monday's council meeting that he increased the cash allowance to $8,000 to allow some wiggle room. The one-time allocation does not include later costs like monthly leases and utilities, but the city does cover a portion of that.
For 2012, the city will spend $400,000 out of its budget on the C.O.P.S. program. $186,000 pays for three employees in the non-profit plus their main office in the Monroe Court building located next door to the Public Safety Building.
In an earlier interview, Spokane C.O.P.S. director, Christy Hamilton, said they prefer a donated venue instead of taking money from another program like traffic calming improvements.
A former volunteer and donor for the program spoke at Monday's meeting opposing the resolution. Cheryl Steele says when the program first started in 1992, the cost was minimal with help from the trade unions through donations. She's concerned about the increased cost of the venues and the drop in volunteers: "If we're starting to take money from other pots..." Steele said. "I'm against that."
Though the resolution failed, some members of city council hope to continue the conversation later. Council president Ben Stuckart said they should discuss it again when the program is up for review in 2013 and include a "robust public process."
Councilman Jon Snyder recommended the dicussion be shifted within the entire public safety budget, but called the resolution a creative solution.
"This is really a budget discussion," Snyder said. "The dicussion having to do with law enforcement is really going to come down to how many officers we have on the street."
Councilman Salvatori was the single vote for the resolution.