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Council takes input on budget

 


The city of Arlington is considering a 1 percent increase on it’s property tax levy for Emergence Medical Services (EMS), but no increase on the general fund property tax.

A public hearing was scheduled for this Monday’s meeting. A final vote on the budget is projected for Nov. 2.

The budget was first reviewed at a Sept. 26 budget retreat when council and staff met for a few hours on a Saturday morning. It was talked about again at last Monday’s workshop meeting, when Finance Director Kristin Garcia described some of the significant changes from the 2015 budget. Sales tax on marijuana has contributed $52,000 to the city coffers this year, Garcia noted.

The same amount has been designated for a new retail marketing program, part of an economic development plan that was discussed at the spring retreat in April.

Next year’s budget includes $258,000 for renovations at Haller Park, including new restrooms — and two new police cars.

The budget is based on some assumptions, Garcia said. Two of the assumptions are an increase in employee benefits and the extension of a contract with the director of public safety.

This Monday, votes were expected on editorial changes to the city’s ordinance on encroachments, or flood plain regulations.

Inconsistent language was discovered during the remand hearing for the Dwayne Lane Chevrolet project in Island Crossing. It caused confusion for the judges at the hearing, said City Attorney Steve Peiffle.

The development falls in a Special Flood Hazard Area that was incorrectly written from federal statute, according to council documents. Changes were approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the state Department of Ecology (DOE). The adjustment includes amendments to the city’s critical areas ordinance, titled “Environmentally Critical Areas”. One regulation applies to areas located inside the city’s shoreline jurisdiction only and the other applies to areas outside the shoreline jurisdiction.

The discrepancy has resulted in confusion for applicants who are unable to decipher if they are inside the shoreline area or not.

When the Shoreline Master Plan was adopted, the environmentally critical areas portion was proposed as an appendix of the chapter but the appending was inadvertently titled Environmentally Critical Areas instead of SMP, causing confusion.

Council is expected to approve this week the two-year Coordinated Prevention Grant (CPG) of $26,000 from the Department of Ecology to continue reaching out to various factions of the community to improve recycling. The grant requires a $6,500 match from the city.

Projects include working with schools to recycle food taste and recycling bins for multi-family apartments.

Also on the agenda this Monday, Oct. 19, was an amendment to code in response to requirements of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II.

Permit holders are required to update their municipal codes to provide for Low Impact Design (LID) for the management of stormwater disposal.

Arlington received a $76,000 National Estuary Program grant to hire Herrera to update codes. The grant also paid for a geo-spatial GIS tool indicating accuracy of potential LID systems in specific property parcels, and maps indicating where regional stormwater systems might work.

Council was also expected to approve the city’s six year Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) this Monday. The plan includes a complete list of projects needed in the next six years. Any road construction project that is to be considered for Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) or Transportation Improvement Board and to be eligible for allocation of 1⁄2-cent gas tax monies, projects must be listed on the plan.

No one spoke at a public hearing on Oct. 5.

 

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