Airway Heights Releases Spokane County From Agreement - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Airway Heights Releases Spokane County From Agreement

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SPOKANE, Wash. – After years of holding back any written negative comment about the STEP project, Spokane County officials are legally allowed to share their concerns about the project. On Friday, the City of Airway Heights released the county from an inter-local agreement both signed in 2010. This inter-local agreement included two different key provisions. The first was a neutrality agreement. Both they City of Airway Heights and Spokane County would not write any negative piece about the STEP project. Second, the City of Airway Heights would pay Spokane County twenty percent of all gaming revenue after the casino was built. This twenty percent is estimated to be around 120 thousand dollars for the first year, growing continually every year, capping at 300 thousand dollars.   

Spokane County has been trying to get out of the neutrality clause of the inter-local agreement for months. At first, the county wanted to only drop the neutrality clause. But the City of Airway Heights would not agree. Spokane County threatened legal action if the City of Airway Heights would not let the county out of the neutrality clause. Mayor Rushing with the City of Airway Heights asked Commissioner French to wait two weeks. On Friday, the county decided that it would accept the City of Airway Heights' offer to leave the inter-local agreement altogether. County Commissioner Al French said that the county realized that walking away from the money would be the only way that the City of Airway Heights would let them out of the contract without legal action. In the end, both parties are happy with the course of action. Commissioner French told KHQ,  "This is an effort that has been heavy on my heart ever since I was elected to the board of County Commissioners. I have worked for the last two years to fight to get to this point. We've engaged with the State Attorney General's Office, we've engaged with a number of  other agencies to try to get a voice for the county residents. Now 476,000 Spokane County Residents will finally have a voice in this process, and that's what we have been fighting for."

Airway Heights Mayor Patrick Rushing was not sad to let the county out of the contract. 
"We feel really good, the County just saved the City of Airway Heights millions of dollars with their decision to terminated the entire agreement. The decision was reached in good faith by all parties involved."

Spokane County will waste no time sharing their concerns. Commissioner French will be writing a letter to Secretary of the Department of Interior and Governor Jay Inslee next week.  

 

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