Enumclaw council members share budget priorities

With an eye toward budget season – the time of year when City Hall workers massage numbers in hopes of drafting a working monetary plan for the coming year – members of the Enumclaw City Council shared their goals.

Each of the city’s seven council members offered a short list of priorities at the conclusion of a brief Aug. 24 meeting. The session spanned just 32 minutes from gavel to gavel.

Mayor Pro Tem Jim Hogan explained such a move will help Mayor Liz Reynolds and City Administrator Chris Searcy as they fashion a document that, by law, has to match expenditures with revenues. Creation of a 2016 budget will occupy plenty of City Hall’s fall hours, with final adoption traditionally handled during the council’s first meeting of December.

Here are some council priorities:

Chance LaFleur: core services like police and street; aiming for a balanced budget without dipping into reserves.

Darrel Dickson: streets; downtown revitalization; addressing the city’s sign code.

Hoke Overland: maintaining status quo with regard to police; keep the spending of reserve funds in the range of $100,000 to $150,000, less than in past years; support for a downtown plan that provides an economic boost to the city.

Juanita Carstens: supporting the police and other safety efforts; streets; senior citizens.

Jim Hogan: fully fund police requests; budget restraint; handle utility rates in a manner that will not require big increases in the future.

Mike Sando: maintain city’s current level of service; keep a close watch on expenditures; develop a vision with regard to a downtown plan.

Morgan Irwin: roads; jobs; parks.

In other action, council members:

• listened as Searcy explained city plans to seek grant money from the state’s Transportation Improvement Board.

The city will apply for funds to pay for new pavement on 244th Avenue Southeast between Warner and Roosevelt avenues; also, the grant would pay for a new surface on Warner Avenue between 244th and state Route 410.

Searcy said the grant request will be for $593,000 and the city will have to come up with a contribution of slightly less than $60,000.

In answer to a council query, Searcy said the road projects being considered aren’t necessarily at the top of the city’s priority list. But the grants are tied to specific needs, he said, adding, “when you’re using someone else’s money, sometimes you have to play by their rules.”

• passed an ordinance eliminating one parking space in downtown Enumclaw. For safety reasons, the council unanimously approved an item eliminating a parking stall on the northeast corner of Griffin Avenue and Wells Street.

“We hate to lose parking spaces, but we also hate to have car crashes,” Irwin explained.

• heard from Samantha Bella, a volunteer with Rainier Hills Wellness Foundation, who explained the coming “Reality House” event. On Sept. 29, young performers will act out scenarios common to parties involving teenagers. The goal is to show parents what teenagers might know – or not know – about parties they’re attending and spur dialog between teens and adults. The free evening is a “parents only” event. Register online at www.rhwellnessfoundation.org or by calling 360-802-3206.

• took a complaint from city business owner Ted deVol, who discussed the money being spent on the current “channelization” project on state Route 410. The area being worked on is never home to traffic jams, he said, and the money spent to meet demands of the Americans With Disabilities Act benefits only a few people.