Proposed 2021 city budget reflects significant changes
BATTLE GROUND — City of Battle Ground Public Works Director Mark Herceg recently presented the City Council with a proposed 2021 budget for the city’s Streets Fund. The fund is used for the maintenance and preservation of streets, sidewalks, traffic signals, street lighting, and landscaping. The budget proposal is being evaluated by the council as a component of the city’s overall 2021 Budget.
The proposed Streets Fund budget reflects significant changes in both revenue and service levels. In February of this year, voters approved a measure to annex into Fire District 3, eliminating the need for the city to contract for Fire/EMS services beginning in 2021. The city made specific commitments to the community on how funds would be utilized if annexation was approved and the cost of the Fire/EMS contract eliminated.
Improved funding for road maintenance and repair was one of those commitments. Specifically, the city promised to increase funding by $750,000 annually for “critically needed maintenance and preservation of roads throughout the city, with the focus on local neighborhood streets and collectors. Several local roads need immediate maintenance, for example NW 29th Avenue that serves the Lewisville neighborhood and is in severe need, would be one of many priorities.”
The proposed 2021 Streets Fund budget does just that and more, adding $1.2 million to the budget with $935,600 dedicated specifically to road maintenance and repair projects.
“This is a huge boost to the city’s pavement preservation and repair program,” said Public Works Director Mark Herceg, “We propose utilizing these fund to make major improvements to neighborhood streets that are in severe decline; NW 29th Avenue in the Lewisville neighborhood is a good example and one of our priorities. These roads take a much higher level of repair compared to the preservation work we’ve done the last several years.”
The Public Works Department has utilized a much smaller Streets Fund budget over the last several years for preservation work such as crack and slurry sealing, road markings and striping. Prior to the upcoming 2021 budget, annual revenue for street maintenance was limited to the amount received from city residents who pay a $20 TBD (Transportation Benefit District) fee when renewing vehicle tabs – about $290,000.
Beginning in 2021, however, city residents will not pay the $20 Battle Ground TBD fee. In November of 2019, statewide measure I-976, commonly referred to as the “$30 car tab initiative”, was approved by a majority of voters. (Due to ongoing litigation, the Department of Licensing continues to collect vehicle fees; view the DOL Fact Sheet here). With a desire to honor the will of voters, the Battle Ground City Council has cut the Battle Ground TBD fee effective January 1, 2021. The impact on the Streets Fund budget is the loss of the TBD revenue, approximately $290,000 each year.
The Streets Fund budget is one of many departmental budgets being evaluated by the City Council prior to formal adoption of the city’s 2021 Budget in December. City Council meetings and study sessions are always open to the public and the public is encouraged to participate by attending and contributing to the dialogue during public hearings. The city has published a Guide to the 2021 Budget Process that includes a calendar of upcoming meetings, information about the budget process, and a list of council priorities. The guide, designed to keep the community informed as the 2021 budget is developed, will be updated regularly as meetings and developments occur.
Information provided by city of Battle Ground.