ILWACO - With 2010 wrapping up its last few weeks, the Ilwaco city council held a public hearing Nov. 22 to gather resident input regarding the city's proposed budget for 2011.

Vandalia resident Don Berger asked the council why the mayor and council salaries increased to $18,000 total for the year while only $1,800 of the $2,400 that was budgeted for 2010 has been distributed.

Mayor Mike Cassinelli explained that council members voluntarily took a one-year hiatus on wages and benefits in 2010 to save the city some money. Councilor Will Greene added that a city ordinance requires that each city council member receive a $200 per month stipend and the mayor to receive a $500 per month stipend. All of them also receive L&I coverage.

Berger asked the council if they would be giving up their stipends for 2011; Cassinelli said that has yet to be determined.

Additional general fund expenditures included $190,466 for law enforcement, $101,572 for the fire department and $13,873 for the library. The fund's remaining $772,000 will be distributed to general city government, dispatch, corrections, physical environment and planning, parks, streets, stormwater, debt repayment and capital expenditures.

Due to what Cassinelli cited as a downward trend in lodging tax revenue, the tourism funds available for 2011 were just shy of $30,000. (In the 2010 budget, there was $43,000 set aside for the tourism fund. 2009 had $46,500 for tourism related expenditures.) Though the Ilwaco Merchants Association (IMA) and the Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau each requested $15,000 for expenditures, each entity was appropriated $8,500. Last year, the IMA was given $21,000 and the LBPVB received $15,000. The Columbia-Pacific Heritage Museum requested $6,000 and was appropriated that amount. An additional $5,500 will be used from the tourism fund to insure the museum's building, which belongs to the city.

Approximately $608,000 is appropriated to the city's water fund for daily maintenance and repayment of long-term debt. The sewer fund's $1,034,859 consists of daily maintenance and operation of the plant, long-term debt repayment and capital expenditures, as well as appropriations to replace a pump, rebuild the hydrogritter, and replace the grit trailer.

The council was also provided with a summary report of the results from this year's Citizen Satisfaction Survey, which was mailed to 567 Ilwaco residences and businesses. Of the mere 83 surveys that were returned, citizens expressed the need for improvement in the following areas: maintaining city roads and sidewalks; communicating with residents; providing adequate storm drainage; and promoting economic development and diversification. Residents were most satisfied with fire and emergency medical response, community meeting space availability, and support of the local library service.

The top three roads and sidewalks in need of improvement were the Vandalia/Baker Bay area, Lake Street, and Spruce Street (which is maintained by Washington State Department of Transportation).

In other business, the council approved a budget amendment ordinance and two ordinances amending Ilwaco Municpal Code Chapter 13 regarding the sewer and water rate schedule.

Among staff reports, City Treasurer Elaine McMillan said the city will be receiving grant money from the Transportation Improvement Board in 2012 for the Brumbach overlay project.

Councilman Gary Forner stated that some Ilwaco residents have requested that the city reduce the speed limit on Highway 101 near Black Lake.

Mayor Cassinelli was happy to announce that the city now has a Facebook page, as well as established an independent webpage, (www.ilwaco-wa.gov).

The city council will hold Water and Sewer Rate Study Workshops from 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 8 at the Ilwaco Fire Hall at 301 Spruce Street; Dec. 14 and Dec. 21 at the Ilwaco Community Building. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

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