Mayor’s Corner: City working on 2017 budget priorities

DAVID PLECHL/ Long Beach Mayor Jerry Phillips has made tackling code violations a priority, including this dilapidated building.

It’s hard to believe how quickly our summer has flown by and what a tremendous summer it has been. It was filled with lots of merchant’s events and city events (i.e. SummerFest and Farmers Market) that showcased our great city. I want to thank all the event volunteers for their hard work and dedication in making all of our events a great experience for our residents and tourists.

The city crew has performed in a fantastic manner again this year providing support, such as setting up and tearing down equipment, keeping facilities clean and available, and enhancing the overall cleanliness of the city, to name a few of their tasks. All this while still completing their normal duties for the city and with the additional duties associated with renovating Stanley Field. My appreciation goes out to all city crew members. Thank you!

I am still working hard on code enforcement to ensure we have a community where citizens want and are proud to live, and visitors want to return to our fantastic city. We must not lose sight that the vacated/abandoned/rundown facilities attract transients and drug users, and are hazards to our community both from a safety for our children and a health standpoint.

We have now eliminated another facility, and our fire department will be conducting a training exercise to burn down the old Gray Parrot structure on Pacific Highway this November.

I want to thank all the residents who have stepped up in taking care of their property over the past few months. Grass that was two feet tall has been mowed, fences have been fixed and painted, and trash has been removed, to name a few items that I have observed recently. I want to thank you, and I know our community is grateful for your efforts and commitment to making our city a beautiful and safe environment to live.

Congratulations! The Long Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant has earned the 2015 “Wastewater Treatment Plant Outstanding Performance” award. Of approximately 300 wastewater treatment plants statewide, yours is one of only 119 that achieved full compliance with its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit in 2015.

The Washington State Department of Ecology evaluated wastewater treatment plants in Washington for compliance with effluent limits, monitoring and reporting requirements, spill prevention planning, pretreatment, and overall operational demands of the NPDES permit.

We have to remember it takes diligent operators and a strong management team working effectively together to achieve this high level of compliance. It is not easy to operate a wastewater treatment plant 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, without violations. This is the second consecutive year the Long Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant has received this award. The Department of Ecology appreciates the extraordinary efforts of our operators.

The Port of Peninsula has partnered with the city of Long Beach on several projects. One of the latest projects was obtaining funding to buy and install two electric vehicle charging stations. These will be installed at the 4th Street South and Oregon parking lot. Ford Electric will be installing these charging stations within the next month.

On behalf of myself and the city, I want to thank the Port of Peninsula for all their support to our community. We value the great partnership we have with the Port and look forward to collaborating on many more projects.

Now it’s time for us to turn our attention to the city budget for 2017, which must be approved by December 2016. Our opportunities are many, with trying to find a way to bring more revenue to the general fund. Several of the funds must be used strictly for that fund and not spent in other funds/categories.

The city administrator and I are evaluating avenues to increase the general fund. Once determined, we will present the options to the public and city council. The need for additional revenue is due in part to several items: employing additional manpower in both the police department and city crew staffing; developing our use of technology; the increasing costs of materials to replace/maintain aging water lines, pump stations, roads, and equipment for all departments.

We will be making recommendations to the city council for the 2017 budget, which includes capital expenses, law enforcement, fire department, streets, lodging tax, water operations, sewer operations, and storm water, to name some of the funds.

Here are some examples of the 2016 budget revenue and expenses. Law enforcement had a budget revenue of $960,520.00, and their expenses were $957,558. That only left $2,962 remaining. The streets fund had a budget revenue of $329,403, with expenses of $226,601, leaving a balance of $102,802 for unforeseen issues during the year. The lodging tax fund had a budget revenue of $670,412 and expenses of $664,960, leaving a balance of $5,452. The storm water utility fund had a budget revenue of $255,803 with expenses of $240,650, leaving a balance of $15,153 for unforeseen needs.

The city supports 15.46 miles of sewer lines, eight pump stations, 115 manholes, and 88 clean-outs in our sewer department. In the streets and storm water fund, we deal with 17 miles of water lines, a mile of open ditches, 902 catch basins, 39 manholes, and three pump stations. And in the water fund, we support 48.5 miles of water lines, 481 valves, 273 hydrants and 1,952 water meters. Some of our maintenance, replacement and initiatives costs are: Flygt pumps for the pumping stations at $7,500 each; ITT Flygt replacement motors for clearwell and drive train systems for $15,000 each; sewer lift station electrical control panels for $20,000 each; and the backflow prevention program required by the state is $18,000. Paving of three streets that are identified this year is estimated at $191,000, emergency backup generator at a pumping station (like the one on 3rd Street North) is $80,000, and our law enforcement for public safety is in need of $150,000 for equipment, drug task force initiatives, a school resource officer, and an additional police officer.

These are just a few examples of some of the funds we will be dealing with during the upcoming months. Citizens are welcome and encouraged to attend our budget workshops.

Jerry Phillips

Mayor of Long Beach

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