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City's 2021-22 budget funds new sidewalks, roads, continued work for major wastewater treatment upgrades

PMG PHOTO: ANNA DEL SAVIO - Interim Scappoose City Manager Alexandra Rains appears at a City Council meeting in January. As city manager, Rains is responsible for the overall city budget.Scappoose's new city budget, which took effect July 1, will bring improvements for roads, sidewalks and parks.

The budget approved by the Scappoose City Council for the 2021-22 fiscal year includes $50,000 for restoration work on the iconic Peace Candle, which will soon be neighbored by a new apartment complex.

The budget also includes more than $1 million for street improvements.

In the fall, public works staff will add sidewalks to parts of Old Portland Road that currently lack them, using $600,000 from the state and local gas taxes, federal funds, and fees paid by developers.

The city has also budgeted $50,000 for the city's sidewalk program, which covers a portion of costs for sidewalk improvements completed by property owners. That's a significant increase over past years, in hopes that more residents will apply.

The city has also budgeted for fresh overlays on the road surface along portions of Old Portland Road, Southeast Sixth Street and High School Way.

In some parts of the city, namely the northwest region of town, new street paving will have to wait on water system upgrades.

"That region of town will be seeing several water main improvements," public works director Dave Sukau said.

Those improvements require tearing up the roads, which means they should be completed before time and money are invested into new overlays.

$900,000 is budgeted for engineering, design and legal work for the first of two phases of wastewater treatment plant upgrades. That work is expected to continue in the 2022-23 fiscal year, in addition to the actual capital improvements. To fund the first phase, the city has taken a $6.4 million loan from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

The budget also includes millions in pass-through funds, money coming from state or federal sources which the city will pass along to partners to complete the work. Roughly $2.8 million from the Oregon Department of Transportation will go, through the city, toward road improvements for the Columbia Commerce Center, an Airpark Development LLC project south of the Scappoose airport.

The budget includes $200,000 for park improvements at the Grabhorn property and Chapman Landing. Sukau said the specific plans for those funds aren't set yet and are dependent on what the Grabhorn Park ad-hoc committee and city council decide.

"We just don't know how far they will progress in the year," Sukau said.

Sukau said city staff have been replacing lights over the past few years. First, staff swapped out mercury vapor lights for more efficient LED lights. Now, staff are working to identify dark areas in Scappoose and are adding lights where needed.

The city doesn't anticipate major staffing changes, maintaining the budget for 36 employees.

Scappoose's urban renewal district was formed in 2019 to fund infrastructure and other projects aimed at promoting growth, The district received an estimated $90,000 in property tax revenue last year and expects $122,000 this year.

The annual revenue is expected to grow over the years, generating enough money to fund costly infrastructure improvements.

In the meantime, the district has budgeted just under $38,000 to develop a grant or loan program for local businesses to improve their storefronts.

Editor's note: This story was updated July 12. A previous version misstated the amount in the budget for sidewalk improvements on Old Portland Road. The budget includes $600,000 for sidewalk improvements, plus $200,000 for pavement overlays. The story has been corrected.


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