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KALAMA — The Kalama City Council approved a $12.28 million 2019 budget Thursday, with greater spending but higher revenue than last year’s spending plan.

Kalama’s estimated expenditures increased $829,200 from 2018’s $11.45 million. The general operating fund rose about $100,000, but the largest increase comes from the water improvement reserve fund, with $1.6 million in expected expenditures.

Most of that money will go to upgrade the Lower Green Mountain reservoir, replacing the Lower Cloverdale pump station and replacing a stretch of water line along Old Pacific Highway. The projects are necessary to keep the municipal water system operating effectively, Clerk and Treasurer Coni McMaster said.

The funding for these projects comes from utility rate increases and connection fees from the last few years, McMaster said. Next year is the fourth of a five-year incremental water and sewer rate increase passed in 2015. Water rates will increase by 2 percent and sewer rates will jump 8.5 percent in 2019.

Another change to the budget comes from the addition of a stormwater utility fund. The city took a $200,000 loan from its sewer reserve fund to start up the utility fund, which will be funded by stormwater fees paid by property owners. The money will be used for a comprehensive plan as well as at least one larger project to address downtown flooding, McMaster said. The city has to pay the loan back within three years, she said.

The city expects $15.94 million in revenue in 2019, about $50,000 more than it projects receiving in 2018. McMaster said the extra money is coming from an uptick in sales tax from construction, utility rate increases and population growth.

The sales tax revenue from construction projects including McMenamins, Stone Forest subdivision houses and upgrades to the Port of Kalama Marina is considered one-time revenue, City Administrator Adam Smee said. The city expects $500,000 in sales tax revenue in 2019.

The council passed a 1 percent property tax increase on Nov. 15, bringing the city’s anticipated 2019 tax revenue to $480,000. However, an increase in assessed property value in Kalama means the property tax rate is down from last year.

In other business, the council:

  • Updated the city’s business license code to comply with new state regulations and to remove outdated sections.
  • Awarded an annual bid for water and sewer treatment chemicals to Northstar Chemical, Cascade Columbia Distribution and Univar.
  • Annexed 1.04 acres of city-owned property to be used for the construction of the new Cloverdale Road Water Pump station.
  • Approved the preliminary plat application for the proposed 17-acre Sunset Terrace Subdivision.

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