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City Council anticipates upgrades for master plans, sewer treatment plant, sidewalks

PMG PHOTO: ANNA DEL SAVIO - In his budget message to the Scappoose City Council and the citys Budget Committee, Scappoose City Manager Michael Sykes, right, outlined infrastructure work that the city will undertake to improve areas like sidewalks and wastewater management.The city budget approved June 17 by the Scappoose City Council for the fiscal year starting July 1 includes increased funding for infrastructure projects.

The approved budget anticipates total revenues of $24.6 million, a slight decrease over the prior year, and expenditures of $20.8 million.

Part of the infrastructure work will include updated master plans to guide the city's initiatives. The city's storm drain system master plan was drafted in 1998, while the last water master plan update was in 2001.

The wastewater master plan was drafted by Carollo Engineers in 2018.

The budget includes funding for one new position in the city, which will be a utility/parks worker in the water and wastewater programs. That position brings the city up to 35 employees.

Since hiring Dave Sukau as public works director, the city has made efforts to bring more services in-house, rather than contracting out.

"Under the leadership and mentoring of our Public Works Director, our crew has learned a wide range of new skills that have enhanced their value to the City," wrote Michael Sykes, city manager and budget officer, in the FY19-20 budget message.

In April 2018, the city approved the purchase of a $185,000 used street sweeper. That purchase allowed the city to increase street sweeps and reduce costs. Earlier this month, the City Council approved a lease-to-own $163,000 excavator, and $50,000 is budgeted for the excavator lease for the coming fiscal year.

The city is also poised to begin using funds from a $6 million loan from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. That loan will be used to upgrade the sewage treatment plant. New equipment will be purchased eventually, but the next fiscal year will likely focus on engineering work for the project.

Anticipating having to pay back that loan, the city has raised sewer rates by 4% on top of a 3% cost of services increase, which also applies to water and stormwater rates. There will also be a $2 monthly increase to stormwater rates.

Sykes also said he anticipates more transportation projects in the coming years.

The 2019-2020 budget includes $100,000 toward sidewalk improvements. The city has also proposed a fuel tax, which residents will vote on in November. If approved, that tax would provide an estimated $300,000 annually for sidewalk improvements in the city.

"I think that's going to be a pretty big program," Sykes said, noting how the lack of sidewalks on many streets pose a safety concern. "It's going to be a slow process" to fix sidewalks, he said.

The budget also includes $106,000 for a new lieutenant position in the Scappoose Police Department. In the current fiscal year, the city had budgeted for an administrative sergeant, but that position didn't prove worthwhile and is currently unstaffed. For the next fiscal year, the city plans to remove that position and replace it with the lieutenant position.

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