The city of Long Beach has submitted two capital budget requests to the Washington State Legislature. As good stewards, we have used all the resources we have available to find grants and other financing.

At the end of this year, the city will be $11 million in debt. Our largest expense is a mandate from the Department of Ecology to build a new biosolids plant at a cost of $7.6 million. We are building a regional plant to maximize efficiency and reduce duplicate infrastructure. This regional plant will process all biosolids produced on the south end of the Peninsula from Long Beach to the U.S. Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment. We are looking to the Legislature to help the city of Long Beach with our funding gaps.

Both of our capital budget requests are being sponsored by Sen. Dean Takko, Rep. Brain Blake and Rep. Jim Walsh.

Boardwalk replacement

The first request is for our boardwalk. As a tourist destination, our population varies from 1,500 permanent full-time residents to between 5,000 and 80,000 throughout the year. One of the main attractions is our boardwalk. Built in 1990, it has outlived its original 20-year lifespan by nine years.

The boardwalk, which is 2,350-feet long and 10-feet wide, is at risk of failure and needs a complete renovation. The city uses lodging taxes for “band-aid” repairs but does not have the funds to rebuild the boardwalk. The solution requires a new substructure, decking, and railings, and improvements to comply with new ADA standards. The city has earmarked $180,000 in lodging taxes for design and preliminary engineering. The city seeks $75,000 for demolition and $725,000 to construct a new boardwalk.

Police station

Secondly, we have a police station that is almost 40 years old and originally designed for three police officers. We currently have eight assigned personnel in that location. We have equipment and evidence stored in four separate locations in town. For some of our large summer events, we hire up to 27 additional officers to help maintain a safe environment. At times, the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol and others use our small facility.

The city spends 47 percent of its annual budget for police services, or $718,000, with 10 percent of police time spent on festivals and other events, costing $70,000. The solution is to remodel an existing city property and building of 1,400 square feet, constructed in the 1950s. The city is ensuring wise stewardship of public funds, investing $80,000 for exterior upgrades (new foundation, roof, siding and windows). A new adjacent storage facility will reduce the city’s storage costs.

Why

are we considering this

now?

• To reduce the potential risk to public safety due to inefficient police facilities and travel time to and from storage facilities.

• To improve working conditions for our police officers and reduce the risk of losing officers due to working conditions.

• To correct deficiencies in our current building, such as no private interview area for sensitive cases, no evidence processing area, inadequate evidence storage, better access and exit capability during emergencies and during high tourism times.

We have already invested $80,000 from our general fund, but we need additional funding to speed up the transition.

From one elected official to another, I have asked the state legislators for additional funding for both projects. We have passed four different sales tax initiatives, and our property taxes have increased due to assessed values going up this year. About 42 percent of our community is second home homeowners. We border a state with no sales tax, and Pacific County has significant poverty. I cannot ask more from my residents at this time.

With a community that is 2 ½ miles long and ¾ miles wide, we collect over $61 million in sales, and over $5 million in sales tax. After all other agencies take their cut, Long Beach is left with $526,625 for the general fund. The sales tax being generated for the state, and the tourism makes the city of Long Beach an excellent investment for the state. I am asking Legislators for their help and support for these two capital budget requests.

I am asking the citizens of Long Beach to email or call their state legislators, requesting them to support the two capital budget requests for the police department and boardwalk.

Sen. Dean Takko, Dean.Takko@leg.wa.gov, 360-786-7636

Rep. Brian Blake, Brian.Blake@leg.wa.gov, 360-786-7636

Rep. Jim Walsh, Jim.Walsh@leg.wa.gov , 360- 786-7806

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