City turns spotlight on scofflaw RV campers

Jerry Phillips

The city of Long Beach has been working diligently on the 2019 budget. We, like all citizens and families, face many of the same challenges. Most of all, this means balancing the amount of money coming in versus keeping up with the increased prices of products, materials, benefits and other expenses.

The city’s infrastructure has been in place for many years. We have water lines, storm drains, culverts, pump stations, hydrants, streets, water meters, biosolids processing, shut-off values, vehicles and other equipment that need replacement or major repairs. Our sewer pump stations are old enough that we need to retrofit them by installing new liners and redoing the piping. Washington Avenue North and South and Idaho Avenue need repaving or even reconstruction. Due to the scope of work (grinding current asphalt, new base, drainage) and the unknown potential issues that may arise, the estimated costs may exceed $450,000 each.

Another area we are tackling is technology, but the initial investment is large. We service over 2,000 water meters in Long Beach and Seaview, and manually reading the meters takes four crewmen one week each month. The installation of new remote-read meters will significantly reduce man hours. The utility crew has done over 320 locates this year that require research, mapping and marking the utility lines before construction or digging by others can take place. Updated technology like Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and data management will help us in so many ways, such as with more sophisticated reading and monitoring of water meters, data collection on all facets of the city’s information, moving from paper (maps, etc.) to software programs for better access while working in the field, and secure storage of information.

Federal and state regulatory requirements to operate the water and sewer plants, the fire department, and even to work in confined spaces have a major impact. Special equipment and required training result in approximately 40 hours of training annually per employee. This requires travel and time away from normal city work, which adds to the annual expense of the city. Included are testing and procedural requirements that must be complied with and documented.

Storm water and streets

We have 24 miles of streets, 17 miles of drainage lines, 0.59 miles of open ditches, 918 catch basins, 39 manholes and three pump stations.

With respect to the storm water fund, our total revenue will be $333,559, with expenditures of $248,078. The ending fund balance will be $84,804. The residential storm water rate for 2018 was $13.28 per month, and in 2019 the rate will be $13.94. That reflects a 5 percent increase, which equates to $0.56 per month and a total of $6.72 per year.

In 2013, the city took out a storm water bond from the Bank of the Pacific. This debt, with a current balance of $266,109, will be paid off in 2023.

We have $5,000 set aside for drainage on 22nd Street NE, $10,000 for pump repairs, $30,000 for the upgrade of the 12th Street pump station electrical panel, and $10,000 for catch basin cleaning and repairs.

Total revenue for the streets fund will be $565,543, with expenditures of $487,484. The ending balance will be $78,060.

The 2019 streets fund includes several items, such as our new Transit Benefit District tax, which has generated $70,114 year to date. With these funds and some additional dollars, we anticipate spending $110,000 for paving. Other purchases include training, stop signs, a chainsaw, a utility truck, safety gear, tools, barricades, thermoplastic for curbs and parking lots, and stop bars. Total purchases are approximately $167,000.

Capi

tal budget fund

The capital budget fund has total revenues of $207,139 and total expenditures of $167,500. The ending fund balance equals $39,639. We have received funding of approximately $137,500 for upgrading Culberston Park. This work will include resurfacing of the basketball court, tennis courts, ADA improvements and reconstruction of the dugouts.

Lodg

ing tax fund

The lodging tax fund has experienced another good year of revenue. This is one of the most regulated funds within the state. Our total revenue for 2019 is just a little over $1,163,000. The increase in revenue is due to increased lodging room night prices and increased tourism.

Our greatest opportunity is the maintenance and repair of the boardwalk and the Lewis and Clark Trail. The boardwalk needs $800,000 to $1.2 million for repairs, and the Lewis and Clark Trail requires around $1.5 million for maintenance and repairs.

The money collected in this fund also sponsors 19 events hosted by the merchants, the city of Long Beach and nonprofit organizations. Public safety and security for festivals is approximately $29,800, and additional beach patrol is $12,000.

Our total expenditures are $1,129,912, leaving us with an ending fund balance of about $33,114. We have created a sinking fund of $180,000, which is earmarked for the boardwalk repairs. We have an outstanding loan being paid from this fund of approximately $72,000.

B &

O tax fund

Within the B & O tax fund, we have a total revenue of $392,328. Total expenditures are $226,701.

Improvements paid for from this fund are related to the new bathrooms on Bolstad and in the old Kite Museum building, and other equipment such as new tables and benches in the parks. We have one loan being paid out of this fund for $165,627 that will end in 2026.

Sewe

r fund

We have 15.46 miles of sewer lines, 115 manholes, 88 cleanouts, and 7 lift stations. We treat over 5 million gallons of water per year. Full-time resident, low-income senior citizens (65 and older) are offered reduced rates based on their annual income.

The council has approved a 4 percent rate increase, which results in an additional $2.60 per month, for a total of $31.20 per year per resident. Our total revenue in the sewer fund is $8,341,220, and total expenditures are about $7,840,312.

This fund supports five loans, the first of which will be paid off in 2022, others in 2023, and the final one in 2026. Our total debt in this fund for 2019 is $1,262,546.Water fund

The water fund supports 48.5 miles of water lines, 481 valves, 175 fire hydrants, and over 2000 water meters. So far, we have installed 235 new remote read meters. Year-to-date we have had 138 move outs, 320 locates, and we have processed over 12,000,264 gallons of treated water.

A 3 percent base rate increase for 2019 equates to $1.06 per month, or $12.72 per year. Low-income senior citizens can also receive a discount off the base water rate.

We are regulated by the Department of Ecology (DOE), requiring numerous testing certifications throughout the year. This fund supports testing at a cost of about $18,000, as well as purchase of pumps, a utility truck, required training, certifications, equipment and tools.

Total revenue for the water department is $2,080,014, and total expenditures are $1,878,260. The ending balance is $201,755, with a sinking fund of $200,000 earmarked for major upgrades. This fund has five bonds or loans totaling $4,167,764. The total debt to be paid from the loans and bonds in 2019 is approximately $191,226, with the last loan being paid off in 2051.

Gene

ral fund

The general fund faces the most challenges. Some of the departments supported in this fund are police, legislative, judicial, finance & administrative, legal, facilities, fire, building, planning and parks.

Total revenue in this fund is $2,010,373, with total expenses of $1,830,407. The ending fund balance of $179,966 can be used to cover any other unexpected emergencies or expenses that may come up during the year. The amount to operate our Police Department is $1,008,688.

Over

all city status

Our total revenue for 2019 is $14,919,228. The city currently has 17 loans and bonds, with total debt to be paid in 2019 of $535,812. The city is faced with a total debt of $10 million due to the state-mandated biosolids plant we must construct and have operational by Jan. 1, 2020.

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