The new year began with Millwood council members Glenn Bailey and Brian Ellingson accepting the oath of office. Both were sworn in before Monday’s regular City Council meeting. Councilman Sean Culler, who is also starting a new term, was absent for the Monday night ceremony.
Bailey begins his sixth term in office, and Culler and Ellingson begin their first full terms after being appointed in 2009 to fill vacated council seats.
The council approved a water plan for the city drafted by Varela & Associates last year.
The plan includes a six-year water system budget estimating an annual 4 percent rate increase for the next five years.
“We had to show the Department of Health that in our plan we acknowledge what we have to do to be sustainable with our finances in the next six-year period,” Richardson said.
Rural Community Assistance Corporation’s Andy O’Neill is evaluating the city’s water rates and plans to present his findings to council in April.
Although the city has a draft list of future projects, the budget does not account for any capital expenditures. Implementing any capital projects could cause the city to raise rates more than the projected 4 percent unless grants or low-interest loans are secured.
One capital project the city plans to pursue, estimated at $389,000, is the demolition and reconstruction of the Old Park Well building. The project includes installing an automatic transfer switch for the power generator.
“That is probably the most important project facing us,” Richardson said.
“We haven’t budgeted for it in the six-year budget,” Councilman Kevin Freeman said about the project, “Is that going to raise any flag with DOH that we’ve got something in the plan that we need to do but we have no way of paying for it?”
Richardson said the engineer told him it wouldn’t affect submission. At this time, the city plans to research funding options such as grants or short-term loans.
Freeman suggested looking into securing money from Homeland Security as the upgrade would increase the safety of water system. He also requested an updated cost estimate for the project.
In other council action:
• Members unanimously approved an agreement with Spokane County for animal control services. The city agreed to pay a $5,794 service fee, in addition to an estimated $479 from half of the city’s license renewal fees. Millwood’s total amount covers approximately 1 percent of the estimated $568,000 countywide costs for animal control services not covered by projected revenue.
• The council approved the appointment of Councilman Richard Shoen to the Spokane Transit Authority board of directors. Shoen is serving as a “small cities” representative. His term started Monday.