Kalama's 2016 Budget Overview
2016 will be a year for growth, recovery and new beginnings. After the December 8, 2015 Flood, many downtown businesses, Post Office, Cowlitz Fire District #5, Police Department, Library, and City offices are working hard to repair and recover from the event. The City’s Office and the Police Department are currently operating from the Kalama Community Building. Once ready the Heritage Bank building will become the new City Hall and staff will relocate to that location. The Library is currently closed and hopefully will reopen for limited served early in the year. By the end of the year it is hoped it will be operating in the newly renovated old City Hall providing much needed space, increasing their ability to serve the community efficiently. The Police will continue to operate from the Community Building until either their building is renovated or a new location is found. Prior to the flooding in December the City passed the 2016 budget which includes completing the Street improvements on China Garden Road, street overlays downtown, and work on Meeker Drive, many of which are mostly grant funded. The City will also use general fund reserves to conduct a Stormwater Utility study in 2016. The remodeling of the City Hall building for the Library and painting of the Police Station are included in the budget, but may be altered due to the flooding event. The City, based on recommendations included in the comprehensive Water/Sewer Rate Study increased the water and sewer rates in 2016 and will do so in each of the next four years. Garbage rates were also increased by Waste Control and the City. Much needed maintenance upgrades will be completed at both the Water and Wastewater plants, along with a water and sewer line extension at Robb Road. In 2015 the City kept its eye on the future economic development plans of the Port of Kalama and continues to work with them to help encourage new business and development. The City will continue to work on economic development including seeking a grant to look at the downtown core area and how to encourage the locating of new business there.