The Millwood City Council was treated to good budget news during last week’s regular City Council meeting.
City Treasurer Debbie Matkin said three funds that were expected to have large deficits for 2013 – water, sewer and general – had improved significantly since her presentation the previous month.
“The numbers changed quite a bit in less than a month,” Mayor Dan Mork said.
Matkin’s revised preliminary budget forecasts an $11,000 deficit in the water fund. Last month, the shortfall was projected at $35,000.
“This looks better than last time,” Matkin said about the water fund. “We may eliminate the $11,000. … I’m hopeful.”
Matkin said the decrease in the fund’s deficit came as a result of gathering more concrete numbers on the city’s water usage.
The general fund forecasts an excess of $1,750, where last month it was estimated to be $2,300 short.
An estimated $40,000 deficit for Millwood’s sewer fund has been erased. Matkin also outlined new sewer rates for non-residential customers based on winter-time consumption. Non-residential customers would pay a base rate of $35.40 for 800 cubic feet of water, plus $1.44 for each additional 100 cubic feet. Matkin plans to present a proposed ordinance at next month’s council meeting outlining the new rate structure.
As part of the budget, the city is planning on three capital projects next year. These are an estimated $20,000 to resurface tennis courts, roughly $38,000 to pave an overlay on Bridgeport Avenue, and $150,000 to replace the Old Park Well automatic transfer switch for the backup generator.
“They’re getting to the point where if we don’t do it now,” Matkin said about resurfacing the tennis courts, “it’s going to be a much bigger job.”
No public testimony was given during the public hearing following Matkin’s presentation. Two more public hearings are planned before final adoption next month.
City Planner Tom Richardson recommended holding a hearing during the special meeting planned on Nov. 27 along with the third hearing at the regular council meeting in December.
The council also approved a resolution setting 2013 revenues and the property tax levy. The city’s assessed property tax is estimated to decrease by 1 percent as a result of a steady decline in property values. This decrease means the city is estimated to have $3,464 less in revenue next year.
The council also approved an agreement to hire Pennell Consulting Inc. for electrical engineering services. The contract outlines two task orders. The first, expected to last from November through February 2013, focuses on designing the automatic transfer switch for the backup generator serving the Old Park Well and water system booster pumps. The contract is estimated to cost $12,450. The second task order is for general engineering services required by the city.
“It’s something we’ve talked about for a long time,” Mork said about the Old Park Well project. “This contract is a lot lower than our original estimates were.”
Richardson presented the council written material on a joint corridor project with the city of Spokane Valley. The focus of the $180,000 project is reducing red-light running and traffic accidents along Argonne Road from Empire to Knox avenues.
To accomplish this, signal equipment upgrades will be installed at the three intersections along Argonne road allowing for signal coordination at peak travel times.
The upgrades are intended to ease traffic congestion along the corridor. Included in the project are bike route signs along Liberty Avenue, Marguerite Road and South Riverway.
The entire funding for the project comes from a Washington State Department of Transportation grant. The council approved the project as proposed.