WASHOUGAL — The city of Washougal’s proposed 2023 budget maintains all existing service levels and provides for modest enhancements to services in response to community and city council priorities, according to Washougal City Manager David Scott.
The budget projects $47.4 million in revenues and $49.3 million in expenditures.
“As we look to 2023, we continue our conservative budgeting approach,” Scott stated. “Consistent with the broader national and regional economic trends, we are experiencing cost pressures in staffing and escalating costs in delivering capital projects. The 2023 budget maintains our conservative management of ongoing expenses while adapting to the realities of these cost pressures. We are cautiously optimistic that economic conditions will continue to improve as we anticipate economic growth in our community over the next several years.”
The city will allocate its share of a voter-approved sales tax increase to implement a body-worn camera program “and make other program enhancements” to its police department, according to Scott, who added that the budget assumes the council will adopt a 1 percent increase in the city’s property tax and emergency medical service levies “to ensure that we can maintain our current service levels and make these modest program enhancements.”
The budget allocates $891,500 of the $4.5 million that the city received from the American Rescue Plan Act to help pay for several street repair projects. At an Oct. 10 workshop session, Scott said that the remaining $3.6 million would be best used to help pay for the two projects that received the most votes in a survey that the city sent to residents earlier this year — the design and permitting for an underpass at 32nd Street, and a civic recreation complex.
The city has applied for a $50.6 million federal Railroad Crossing Elimination grant, which provides funding for highway-rail or pathway-rail grade crossing improvement projects that focus on improving the safety and mobility of people and goods.
If the city is successful, it will use the money to design and construct an underpass at the railroad crossing on 32nd Street, from Main and B streets to F Place. The city is estimating that the design and permitting portion of the project will cost about $2 million.
The remaining money could be put toward the cost of the recreation complex, which will feature a variety of oft-requested amenities, including a dog park, outdoor recreation area and a splash pad. The city will also apply for grants for that project.