• While the city wants more money for street maintenance and improvements, there hasn’t been talk of hiring additional employees. Since 2008, the city has cut staff positions by approximately 20 percent, including reductions in the street maintenance division. Vancouver has 100 lane miles per roadway worker, a higher workload than the regional average of 60 lane miles per employee, according to the public works department.
• City Manager Eric Holmes said over the past decade, the cost of salaries and benefits for employees has averaged 13 percent of total street spending.
• “The city has taken significant steps to contain the pace of growth in all of our costs over the last several years,” Holmes said. “The current effort to examine our street operations is geared toward maximizing the results we can accomplish with the resources we have. A combination of wage freezes, furloughs, layoffs, combined with restructuring of health care coverage and premium sharing, have been ingredients in our cost-containment efforts.”
“Boom Town,” read a headline from 1994: “Vancouver annexes more land in the ’90s than any other city in Washington, and it’s just the start.”
The city’s territory had grown more in four years than it had in the past four decades. And that was before the 1997 Cascade Park annexation — the largest in state history — brought in 58,000 more residents and made Vancouver the state’s fourth-largest city.