LONG BEACH — Long Beach City Council is full once again.
At the council’s Nov. 18 meeting, a new councilor was appointed. The council also moved forward on the city’s 2020 budget, and other contracts.
The council’s next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Dec. 2 in Long Beach City Hall.
Sue Svendsen was slated to join the council in January after winning the majority of votes for the council’s vacant seat. After realizing the council was at a stalemate when trying to decide whether to give city employees a raise of 2% or 3%, City Administer David Glasson and Mayor Jerry Phillips suggested the council appoint Svendsen to her seat early, so she could be a tie-breaker.
Svendsen was sworn into office at the start of Monday’s meeting.
Councilors Holli Kemmer and Tina McGuire are in favor of a 2% raise. Councilors Del Murry, Kevin Cline and Svendsen are in favor of a 3% raise. The council is scheduled to make a decision on the salary increase at its next meeting.
Councilors held a budget workshop, a public hearing on the city’s proposed Property Tax Levy, and a public hearing on the budget.
During the budget workshop, councilors focused on whether to give city employees a 2 or 3 percent raise.
After the levy public hearing, councilors voted to adopt the levy, which generates a 1% increase in residents’ property tax. Doing so will bring the city $18,147 more revenue next year. Councilors Kemmer and Cline voted against the levy.
Regional biosolids plant
Glasson reported that Ilwaco has stepped out of the partnership between Ilwaco, Seaview and Long Beach for its regional biosolids plant, which will be finished by the end of this year.
The decision is forcing Long Beach leaders to find a solution that makes up for the city’s lost revenue, while not raising rates for residents.
City staff suggested delaying the purchase of a new lift-station, and finding other customers to replace Ilwaco. The council agreed this is the direction the city should go.
Councilors approved fee waivers for two community events, Shoeboxes of Joy and Project Community Connect.
Shoeboxes of Joy will use the Long Beach Train Depot from Nov. 25 to Dec. 27. The program serves residents by giving them care packages, made of shoeboxes.
Shoeboxes of Joy has existed for 12 years, and operated out of the depot for nine years. The depot is used as a drop-off location for program donations.
“Our program supports our elderly and disabled by providing joyfully-wrapped shoeboxes filled with personal care items, hats, gloves, socks and food,” said DeAnn Kettwig, Shoeboxes of Joy project coordinator.
“We serve nearly 700 residents each year.”
On Jan. 23, Project Community Connect will use the depot to provide free haircuts and nail care, and pet check-ups. The event serves low-income and homeless residents by connecting them with resources.
“Last year over 200 of our neighbors received services from 42 service providers,” said Bill Buck, project coordinator. “Thank you for your continued support.”
The council approved two additional contracts. The first contract is for $6,300 with SDS Municipal Consulting. The consulting agency helps the city represent its needs in Olympia, and has done so for two years.
“SDS Consulting has been instrumental in helping the city secure funding from the legislature for the police department,” Glasson said. “She has also helped lobby for the TPA and to retain MRSC as a benefit to small cities.”
The second contract is for $26,212 with Laserfiche Cloud Solutions. The city will use Laserfiche to digitize its records on a cloud-based system.
“Really, the point for this is to help better respond to public records requests,” Glasson said.
Svendsen echoed the need for the contract.
“I think it’s quite important, based on boxes of records sitting around,” Svendsen said.