From the Mayor’s Desk: On behalf of Town Council, staff, and myself let me wish all Steilacoom residents a very happy Holiday season and a prosperous New Year. Please be safe and enjoy the time with family and friends.
The Town’s Christmas tree provided by JBLM and coordinated through our connector unit the 42nd MP Brigade will be lit and we welcome Santa to Town Hall on Friday, 3 December at 6:30 PM. Santa and Mrs. Claus will once again tour Steilacoom on the Town sleigh on Friday, 17 December from 5 PM to 9 PM. (See accompanying route map and estimated time). Elves and Reindeer will join Santa to distribute gifts and good cheer throughout Town. We look forward to greeting residents along the route.
The 2011-12 Biennium Budget
The news is full of articles describing huge federal, state, and local budget challenges. The reason, in my opinion, has been a combination of overspending, budgets based on “expected revenue from somewhere else”, and a slow reaction to the down turn in the economy. Residents need to understand that in 2010, Steilacoom is in solid financial shape!! Let me detail our financial status and the highlights of the 2011-12 Biennium Budget.
All our 2011-12 Biennium Budget recommendations and approvals, plans and operations, are based on the “level of service” we are able to provide given our financial resources. To meet the approved “core services” requirements, the budget is in two sections.
Part One: The Utilities
First and the easy part of the budget is..…our full service utilities. Not all cities/towns in Washington provide water, sewer, electric, and storm water services. We do, and it allows for quick staff response to residents’ utility issues and our ability to control and implement capital projects plus needed annual maintenance plans.
Budgets for the separate utilities are funded completely by rates. In 2011, electric rates will remain at current levels.
The storm water rate will increase 6% due to the Town using cash reserves to fund the emergency work related to Martin Street culvert collapse in 2010. Scheduled capital projects, ever-expanding regulations governing storm water run-off, and funding of capital reserves necessitates the rate increase.
The water utility rates will remain at current levels.
Last is the sewer utility. Staff negotiated a new sewer contract with Pierce County reducing our payment for sewage treatment from 85% of the County customer rate to 68%. This new contract saves the utility approximately $200,000 per year. The Pierce County Council, however, also approved a 2011 rate increase of approximately 15% and will be considering similar increases each of the next four years to fund the $240 million dollar Chambers Creek sewer treatment facility upgrade and other work. The net result is that our customers’ sewer rates will increase 6% for 2011.
Council has approved five year work plans for infrastructure projects in all utilities. We anticipate funding all scheduled capital projects with cash! Three of our utilities are completely debt free! The fourth, the sewer utility, has $2.9 million in bonded debt. In 2013, Council will look again at refunding this debt to a lower rate or paying it off completely. All the utilities will continue excellent service and upgrading infrastructure for increased reliability.
The proposed projects for the 2011-2012 Biennium include: 1) Starling Street (all utilities), 2) Cable injection for increasing the life of the electric systems’ wires, 3) Electric wire replacement along Chambers Creek Road and along the First Street trail to Cormorant, 4) Pacific Street water line replacement, 5) Short Street sewer line replacement.
Part Two: General Fund
The second part of the 2011-2012 Biennium Budget is the General Fund. It is the key portion of the budget that has the potential for dramatic swings in fund status. What does the General Fund support? Primarily, the General Fund supports the Public Safety Department, courts, road maintenance, and Community Center operations. Today we have $3.2 million in the General Fund which is a very solid reserve. Looking forward, the General Fund budget elements are under pressure. We anticipate reduced property taxes associated with new construction and improvements, parking revenues, construction related revenues, one time money from major construction projects, and intergovernmental revenues. The initial projections indicated an estimated $326,000 deficit for the 2011-12 Biennium. If a status quo budget had been submitted and approved, then the General Fund cash balance/reserve was projected to be at $1.3 million in 2016 and be in a negative balance by 2020. Operations were reviewed and reductions were identified to bring the budget into balance without using reserves.
Recommendations to Close the Budget Gap
The Budget submitted and approved by Council is in balance for expected revenues and expenses for the 2011-12 Biennium. What was done? The budget recommendation I submitted to Council called for: a 1% property tax increase which equals an increase of approximately $8-$10 per household; a “zero” cost of living increase for non-representative staff; a 1% increase for Teamsters’ members and a 2.5% increase for members of the Steilacoom Officers’ Association based upon existing contractual requirements; reducing the building inspector position to .5 FTE based on expected construction activity/work load; elimination of the Recreation Assistant/Sports position, 1.0 FTE, which reflects elimination of a program that loses approximately $42,000 a year.
Elimination of the youth sports program was a very tough decision, however, parents and youth have several options for sports with active sport associations in Dupont, Lakewood, and University Place. We will work hard to ensure those programs can coordinate for local fields and provide information announcing leagues.
I understand these actions impact good people and their families. Our task is to use the funds entrusted to us to keep Steilacoom financially sound and live within our means as you do at home.
The results of the adoption of the 2011-2012 Biennium Budget when coupled with prior decisions are the utilities are solid and the General Fund in 2012 will remain solid.
Lastly, the Pierce County Council may be approving an apportionment per tax parcel to fund the beginning of the Flood Control Zone District in 2011. I don’t know the amount. Like the initial process months ago which we challenged, I only found out about this action following a rumor. So if action was taken on Nov 23…the first you may have seen was in the newspaper on 24 Nov. Town staff and I will continue to follow this issue and attempt to be part of the process. Stay tuned.
Second Notice!! Steilacoom All-Comers Community Christmas Sing and Play Along are scheduled for Sunday, 19 December 2010 from 6 PM to 8 PM at Steilacoom Town Hall 1717 Lafayette St. No rehearsals are necessary. Just bring your musical instruments, music stands, and enthusiasm. All ability levels welcome. 4-part music and song sheets will be provided. Contact Nancy Henderson, 584-7284 or at email@example.com to get involved.
Ron Lucas, Mayor
FIRESIDE GALLERY DECEMBER ARTIST In December, the Steilacoom Community Center Fireside Gallery will feature the works of artists Vasiliki “Bess” Beauregard, Marjorie Mankin, and others. This show will feature works in various mediums focusing on a variety of subjects. Don’t miss it!
– Urban Forestry Management revisions – public input.
– Janitorial contract award
– Uses of REET Funds
Minutes to the Town Council meetings once approved are posted on the Town’s website at:
and located under:
The Friends of Steilacoom Library is seeking input from the community for the 2011 adult and teen programs. If you have any suggestions or ideas for programs that you would like to see offered at our library, please send them to Janis at firstname.lastname@example.org or Voraya at email@example.com. The teen program in December will feature Duct Tape Creations on Monday, December 6, 3:30 to 5pm. Light snacks are provided. All teens are welcomed.
The District’s newsletter, “Good News”, may be viewed at
Access the link “About the District” for information.
RED RIBBON HOLIDAY BAZAAR
The Steilacoom High School Booster Club is hosting the 13th annual Red Ribbon Holiday Bazaar on December 4th from 9am to 3 pm. The event will feature handmade arts and crafts as well as other items great for holiday gift giving and enjoyment. Steilacoom Historical Museum calendars and cards will be available as well as Steilacoom Boy Scout troop wreaths. Entertainment will be provided throughout the day by students from Steilacoom and Dupont Schools. SHS Key club will provide crafts for children as well as pictures with Santa for a small fee. Vendors interested in renting a space should contact Bettye Craft @ firstname.lastname@example.org or at 582-7260.
URBAN FORESTRY MANAGEMENT REVISIONS
The Town Council will be reviewing provisions of the Urban Forestry Management regulations found in SMC 16.18. The current schedule is:
Dec. 7 – Council meeting – opportunity for public input.
Jan. 4 – Council meeting – opportunity for public input.
Jan. 14 – Study Session
Feb. 1 – Introduction
Feb. 15 – Public Discussion
Written input may also be submitted.