PA council approves $111 million budget for 2007
by BRIAN GAWLEY
Peninsula Daily News
PORT ANGELES -- The City Council unanimously approved a $111 million budget for 2007 this week.
It includes the lowest property tax rate in 20 years, two new police officers and a state-funded archaeologist position that is part of the Tse-whit-zen settlement.
It also adds an assistant city attorney position and a half-time assistant for Port Angeles Fine Arts Center Director Jake Seniuk while cutting 3.2 positions at the Port Angeles Landfill as the city switches to a transfer station.
The $111 million budget approved Tuesday night includes a $16.47 million general fund budget, $60.46 million utilities budget and $20 million capital projects budget.
The capital projects include a redesigned Eighth Street bridges replacement project, the Port Angeles International Gateway Transportation Center and expansion of the Port Angeles Senior Services and Community Center at 328 E. Seventh St.
The remaining $14 million includes the city's debt service fund, special revenue fund for dedicated revenue such as the hotel/motel tax, and an internal service fund that finances equipment and computer services provided to city departments.
The $16.47 million general fund budget pays for most of what people associate with city government -- police and fire departments, public works, community and economic development, the city's legal and finance departments and the City Council and city manager.
The city will have 266.25 full-time equivalent positions in the 2007 budget, up from 262.45 in 2006 budget.
The 2007 budget adds six full-time positions, two half-time positions and a quarter-time position.
It also eliminates 3.2 positions because the city is closing the Port Angeles Landfill at the end of the year.
The new full-time positions are the state-funded archaeologist, two full-time police officers, assistant city attorney, information support specialist and an electric meter tech apprentice.
The archaeologist position was part of an August 2006 agreement between the state Department of Transportation, the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe, the Port of Port Angeles and the city of Port Angeles over an abandoned graving yard project.
The project on the city's waterfront was abandoned after ancient Klallam graves were found there.
The agreement provides $480,000 in state money over five years for the city to fund an archaeologist to do a survey of the harborfront to identify where ancestral remains might lie.
The archaeologist position will be part of the city Community and Economic Development Department, which is headed by City Manager Mark Madsen.
The two new police officers will increase the city's number of officer positions to 33.
One position out of the 31 available now is vacant.
Recruiting, hiring and training a new police officer takes about a year.
The city's 30th officer, Lea French, began work in July 2006 as the city's temporary downtown resource officer.
The 2007 budget also eliminates 3.2 positions because the city is closing the landfill at the end of the year and replacing it with a transfer station, composting operation and moderate-risk waste disposal operation.
Waste Connections of Washington, a division of Waste Connections Inc. of Folsom, Calif., is building the 17,000-square-foot transfer station.
It will be operated by the company but owned by the city at the current Port Angeles landfill at the end of West 16th Street.
The garbage will be trucked to Tacoma, taken by rail to Vancouver, Wash., then barged up the Columbia River to the Finley Butte Regional Landfill in Boardman, Ore.