In November 2018, the Washougal City Council adopted the 2019 budget of $45.2 million, an increase of 5% over 2018. The Council is pleased to implement a balanced baseline operating budget, maintaining all services, with targeted enhancements in response to community and Council priorities. The 2019 budget continues to advance the City’s capital facilities efforts, and, with the assistance of new revenues, will provide the opportunity to pursue important projects in parks, streets and facilities.
Mayor Molly Coston remarked that the 2019 budget “reflects a city taking action and moving forward for a better future. It builds on our momentum to address important City Council and community priorities, and I am pleased to witness the exciting things happening in our community.”
Council’s number one operational priority this year is the Pavement Management Program (PMP) where funding has been boosted from $750,000 in 2018 to $863,000 in 2019. This increase in PMP funding is due to the introduction of a $20 annual vehicle license tab fee. Pavement management is the process of planning the reconstruction, rehabilitation, maintenance and repair of streets to efficiently optimize the pavement conditions over the entire network of roadways. It is vital to the community because proper pavement management allows the city to avoid costly replacements in the long run. The Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) has historically been used to finance this program along with general funds.
Highlighted initiatives and projects in the 2019 budget include completion of the Steamboat Landing Park dock replacement, completion of the Washougal Waterfront Trail (connecting the Port’s waterfront trail to Steamboat Landing Park), augmenting Community Development with an additional Code Compliance Officer and redesigning the City’s website to enrich communication efforts. Additional initiatives include the completion of various sidewalk projects, funding for community events and Water, Wastewater and Storm Drainage system improvements.
Each of these projects is in alignment with Washougal’s four Strategic Pillars that are set forth in the 2013-2023 Strategic Plan: Communication, Community Engagement, Core Services and Economic Development. These Pillars, along with the results of the 2018 Community Survey, inform Washougal City Council’s priorities that are set during their annual planning session each spring.
To ensure that the 2019 budget enables the City to provide important service improvements and make additional investments, beyond maintaining current service levels, the 2019 budget relies on several enhanced revenue sources. These new revenues will allow the City to meet the expectations of the community that have informed Council’s priorities. Residents will see a 2% increase (from 4% to 6%) in the natural gas tax to match the tax rate charged in most communities in Clark County. The City has also introduced a 6% tax on cable TV. The business license fee was increased from $25 annually to $50, a rate more aligned with what other communities across the state charge. In total, these new revenues are estimated to bring in $292,000 of additional funding to support investments in parks, streets and facilities projects.
“We continue to take a conservative approach in our budgeting with the goal of providing our residents a similar or better level of service,” said Mayor Pro Tem Ray Kutch. “It’s a challenging task for the Council, but we are setting a strong foundation for the City and need to make investments in Washougal’s future.”
Jennifer Forsberg, Finance Director
(360) 835-8501 ext. 503
Michele Loftus, Communications Specialist
(360) 835-8501 ext. 510