City staff presented the 2019-2020 Preliminary Budget to the City Council at the November 13, 2018 Council Workshop. The Council held public hearings at the November 19 and December 3 meetings to receive comments from the community on the proposals for 2019-2020, with final approval of the budget made at the December 3 meeting.
The City has moved to a biennial (two year) budget; the budget includes a number of important changes, including:
- Animal Control Shelter:
Through partnership with Kennewick and Richland, a location and feasibility study have been completed and design is underway. Look for this long standing goal to be checked off this budget cycle with completion of a new facility. The new facility will be well equipped to meet the needs of our current and future community and those of our agency partners.
- Community Center: The desire for a new Community Center was evident from the input received during the Community forums earlier this year and through other channels over the past couple of years. As revitalization efforts commence in the Downtown and Broadmoor Master Plan is completed and that area begins to develop, efforts to unify all of Pasco will help maintain and strengthen the closely-knit community that still exists today. This budget anticipates a public process to gauge community sentiments as to location, followed by a Council decision as to location and determination of funding source. Potential funding options have been presented to City Council and will be refined.
- ‘A’ Street Sporting Complex:
The space available for sports fields falls short of the demand for such facilities. Without adding additional capacity, many users will look elsewhere for multi-sports fields. Recognizing these facts, the City Council this year authorized the use of city-owned property on ‘A’ Street for recreational use. The ‘A’ Street Sporting Complex will be designed and constructed in 2019-2020. This Complex will add 8-14 multi-use fields to support the growing needs citywide.
- Station 83 Relocation:
The City has grown significantly in the last decade creating varying response times to the NW area of the City. The location of the current station has served the area well since the mid-1990’s, however most service calls for Station 83 come from north of I-182. This adds minutes to the response time of almost every call for service from that station. The relocation of the station to a City-owned lot at Sandifur Parkway & Road 76 will significantly lessen response times to the majority of the service area and expand the service area to accommodate much of what is anticipated in the Broadmoor area over the next decade. Design and construction are scheduled for completion in 2019 dependent on funding availability.
- Station 84 Replacement:
As mentioned above, temporary Station 84 was not meant to be a long-term solution for the Riverview area. As part of the redeployment of Station 83 and 84 in the Fire Strategic Plan, relocation of Station 83 to a permanent station to the north maintains the Council’s six-minute response time goal and provides the crews a facility designed to meet current and future needs. The new station will be constructed on City-owned property located on Road 52 north of Court Street, which was purchased previously for this use. The site has good access to the Court Street arterial, allows for the addition of necessary training and community rooms, and will serve as the central administrative office to support the future needs of the department and community. Design and construction are scheduled for completion in 2019, dependent on funding availability.
- Stations 85 & 86 Land Acquisition:
While the need for additional stations is well into the future, additional stations will eventually be needed to effectively serve anticipated growth. Given the unique parameters for the location of a Fire Station, securing property early is a hedge against rising land prices in the future and scarcity of suitable sites as areas develop. Staff will work to acquire the land necessary for the stations within the biennium.
- Lewis Street Overpass:
This long-time goal of City Council is quickly picking up steam. The City Council is committed to a “shovel-ready” status; however, construction will be dependent on successfully securing gap funding. Final design work is 30% complete and scheduled to be completed in 2019. Staff is working to secure the BNSF permit required for construction and expect to have it in hand by early 2019. While the allocation for this project in the 2015 Connecting Washington program is significant, a large shortfall exists to fully fund the project. In 2018, the City applied for BUILD and TIB grants to secure gap funding to complete construction of the project. Awards have not yet been announced. Depending on the success in either of these efforts, the project will be ready to go to construction in 2019.
- Chapel Hill Boulevard Extension:
Through the successful formation of a Local Improvement District (LID) with land owners, Chapel Hill Boulevard will extend from Road 68 to Road 84, enhancing the connectivity and easing congestion in the Road 68 corridor. This project will promote economic development for 60 acres of commercial property in the area and enhance public safety connection to the Chapel Hill area. The City will participate in cost-sharing of a 5th lane and proposed roundabouts. Acquisition of right-of-way and construction will be completed in 2019.
- Road 68 Interchange:
Additional work to ease congestion in the Chapel Hill Boulevard/Road 68 area is scheduled to be completed in 2019 in partnership with Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). Staff will be working with WSDOT on a larger scale project aimed at a major overhaul of the interchange and its interface with Road 68 and nearby key intersections.
- Argent Road:
This two-phase project will enhance the safety and capacity between 20th Avenue and Road 36 for motor vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-vehicular access. For over 350,000 citizens traveling annually to and from Pasco Airport, Columbia Basin College (CBC) students and staff, and hotels in the area, this project will proactively support our transportation infrastructural needs for the rapidly developing area. Through private partnerships with the Port of Pasco and CBC, this project will see significant progress this biennium with completion of Phase II scheduled for 2021. Phase I will be awarded in early 2019 with completion anticipated the same year.
- Citywide Traffic Signal Improvements Phase II:
Phase II was initiated in 2018 and the work to upgrade all traffic signal controllers in the system will continue with the updating the last 21 old-style controllers in the City’s traffic signal inventory. This project will increase system reliability, traffic efficiency, and pedestrian and vehicular safety. It also includes upgrades to meet current American Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility at signalized intersections.
For the major General Fund revenues, the City has experienced positive growth:
- Sales Tax:
Sales tax is the General Fund’s largest revenue stream and includes regular Retail Sales Tax, as well as Criminal Justice and Public Safety sales tax. The latter two taxes are mandated to provide public safety services to the citizens of Pasco, while the regular retail tax funds all general services. Since 2014, sales tax revenues have trended upward, averaging more than 7% growth annually. This growth has been fueled by new construction and supported by a modestly expanding commercial inventory, auto, and large equipment sales.
- Utility Tax:
An 8.5% tax on gross revenues of all public utilities is paid to the City on a monthly basis by system users. The City’s Water, Sewer, Irrigation, Storm Water and Reuse utilities are subject to utility tax, as well as companies who provide natural gas, electricity, phone, cable and garbage services in the City limits. The General Fund receives 88.23% of utility tax revenue, while the Street Fund receives 2.35% and the Overlay Fund receives 9.42%. Although new home construction generates more users, for many utilities, extreme cold and hot weather are bigger factors in overall revenue from this source. The City has seen a steady decline in telephone utility tax since 2014. This is likely due to the competition of many service providers and the diminishing use of landlines. Although utility tax revenue reflects very measured growth, it is a stable source of recurrent revenue to the City.
- Property Tax:
Statutory mandates only allow the City to levy a 1% property tax annually, plus the value of new construction. In 2016 and 2017, the increase in new construction drove property tax revenue increases of 6.4% and 5.4% respectively. In 2019, the budget proposes to levy $1.86M of banked property tax capacity. As discussed previously, and more recently during the statutorily required 2019 revenue and Ad Valorem hearing, the additional property tax is proposed to fund much needed facility replacements and help to shore up future revenue growth for the City.
City Manager Dave Zabell said, in his 2019-2020 Budget Message, “The adopted budget seeks to satisfy or make significant progress toward the City Council’s adopted Goals for 2018-2019 by providing for the implementation of important policy decisions made by the City Council through the process of prioritization, recognition and implementation of efficiencies. Developing a balanced budget is always a challenge, a helpful decision-making filter used in budget considerations and the very purpose of this organization is as follows: If the City and its services went away tomorrow, why would the people want us back?
As with the prior year, this proposal attempts to maximize value through the efficient provision of services while minimizing the level of taxes, rates and fees paid by the citizens of Pasco. The increased staffing authorized in the 2018 budget and earlier has reduced the challenges to maintaining services for our growing community, and due to this fact, staff is requesting only two new positions for 2019-2020.”
For a complete summary of the changes, please see the Budget Message via the 2019-2020 Budget link below.
If you have any comments or questions about the 2019-2020 Budget, please use this online form, or for more information, contact the City Manager’s office at (509) 545-3404.
Source: City of Pasco