October 8, 2011 in Washington Voices

Council OKs construction work

Valerie Putnam vrputnam@yahoo.com
Coming up

The next city council meeting is Nov. 7 at 7 p.m., Millwood City Hall, 9103 E. Frederick Ave. For more information, call (509) 924-0960.

The Millwood City Council chose to move forward with two out of three pending road construction projects at its regular meeting Monday night.

The projects awarded include widening Grace Avenue and Laura Road, along with the alternate project of constructing a raised intersection at Empire Avenue and Fowler Road. An additional alternate project in the bid, constructing speed humps on Bridgeport Avenue and South Riverway, was not included in the award.

The council awarded the projects to Inland Asphalt, the sole bidder, whose bid for both jobs came to $40,532.

Overall, Inland Asphalt’s bid for all three projects came in 24 percent higher than the original $43,000 estimate. For 2011, the city has allocated $34,000 for road construction.

The council learned electric revenues were an estimated $50,000 more than budgeted and that it could allocate some of those funds to the road construction by amending the budget next month.

“I think we need to do something,” Councilman Kevin Freeman said about the Empire/Fowler intersection. “We know there is an issue.”

Agreeing with Freeman, the council unanimously voted to use funds from the budget to award the projects.

“I think it is a courageous vote,” Mayor Dan Mork said. “You’re putting some action behind things we’ve spent a lot of time on.”

Construction is set to begin this month.

During the meeting, Shirene Young of Inland Empire Paper Company presented the council a commemorative hard cover book in recognition of the company’s 100 years in Millwood.

Four members from Girl Scout Troop No. 2436 informed the council they were working toward earning their silver badges by saving a city landmark – the Millwood City Park wading pool. The girls were there to ask if the council would commit to operating the pool upon raising the money needed for repairs. Council members agreed, noting $3,700 of the $10,000 has been raised. This amount, Mork explained, did not include the matching funds promised by Inland Empire Paper Company.

Council members listened to a presentation by Andy O’Neill, from Rural Community Assistance Corporation, a nonprofit organization that helps rural communities achieve goals in a wide range of areas.

O’Neill proposed giving city staff technical assistance on the water utilities by reviewing next year’s budget, analyzing current water rates, ensuring the city’s financial reserves meet the state recommendations and conducting an asset inventory.

This assistance is paid through a state program at no charge to the city, ONeill said.

He said he would work with staff to draft a work plan with a timeline and present it to the council.

In other city news, the council held the first public hearing for the 2012 revenues and property tax levy.  Two other hearings are required before the end of the year.

The city’s assessed property tax is estimated to decrease, leaving the city an estimated $3,675 less in revenue next year.

The council also held a public hearing on the proposed adoption of a 6-month moratorium on the establishment and licensing of medical marijuana dispensaries and collective gardens.

On July 22, the state changed medical marijuana laws prompting the city’s decision to pursue a moratorium. No public testimony was given during the hearing and the council voted to impose the moratorium.

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