Street Improvement Funding Options - I-976 Council Workshop 9-17-19 at 6pm
City of Kalama has adopted a $40 fee that each citizen owning a vehicle or vehicles – car, truck, trailer, boat, etc – pays when they renew their license tabs each year. This is funding for the Transportation Benefit District (TBD) which was established in 2012, with the fee beginning in 2013. This funding is solely dedicated to street improvements and not operations and maintenance of streets. It took the City a couple of years to accumulate enough funding to begin making improvements to local streets. Since 2016, the City has used this funding to make improvements to many neglected streets or streets needing immediate attention. This includes portions of N. Third, Juniper, N. Fourth, and N. Fifth in 2016, the slide area of Meeker Drive, plus Third Place and Military in 2017, Summit and Woodale Drives in 2018 and portions of South 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, Birch and Date Streets in 2019. The TBD has received a little over $303,000 since 2013 and has spent nearly $243,000 making these repairs.
The City is considering taking out a Councilmanic Bond to fund street improvements on a larger scale which would be repaid with the TBD funds being collected through the tab fee. This would allow a couple of larger street projects to be completed, side streets to be improved sooner, and the City could have the work done at today’s costs versus escalated costs in the future.
Initiative 976 on the ballot this November will take the City’s ability to assess the tab fee away if passed by the voters. If the fees are being used to pay debt obligations, the fees would stay in effect until such time as the debt is paid off even if I-976 passes. This would remove the only dedicated source of funding for street improvements to the neighborhood streets.
The City Council will hold a workshop meeting to review the effects of I-976, the needs for street improvements, and the options for funding those improvements on Tuesday September 17, 2019 at 6pm. They hope the public will come out to hear about the options and comment on the issues. The meeting will be held in the City Council Chambers at 320 N. First Street.