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Regional News

Spokane County Commissioners Sworn In

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Doug Nadvornick/SPR
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Spokane County Commissioners Al French and Mary Kuney have taken the oath of office for their next terms. Their swearing in ceremony came on a busy day as commissioners inched toward approved next year’s budget.

The commissioners are deep into the details of finalizing a budget for 2019. They expect to approve it next Monday.

This year, the budget process hasn’t been as dramatic as last year, when commissioners had to close a projected $9 million deficit. Al French says strategic spending cuts and new approaches to some existing programs have helped balance the bottom line. But the biggest factor was good timing.

“We, quite frankly, got to be able to take advantage of a growing economy," French said. "For a long time, all of us have believed that a growing economy can avoid tax increases. In this situation, a growing economy has allowed us to be able to get more sales tax and, consequently, reduce property taxes. That’s the way it’s supposed to work.”

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Credit Doug Nadvornick/SPR
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Mary Kuney first took office as a Spokane County commissioner in 2017. She has now begun her first full term.

The commissioners have many other projects to focus on next year, including how to control the costs of a criminal justice system. The county Law and Justice Council has been working on ideas to reduce the jail population. Questions about the viability of the current jail and a possible new facility will continue to plenty of attention.

This is Al French’s third term as county commissioner and Mary Kuney’s first full-term. She was sworn in last fall to replace former Commissioner Shelly O’Quinn.
 

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