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The Longview City Council Thursday is expected to approve a lease agreement for an indoor shooting range, which will bring Longview one step closer to having its own training range in city limits.

Police Chief Jim Duscha told The Daily News on Tuesday that the city’s 25-year lease agreement with Longview Tactical Inc. will “lock-in” the partnership for when the facility is built.

The 50-yard indoor firing range would be located at 645 California Way. It would include retractable and running-man targets, a portable shoot-house, live-fire tactical training, a staging area, simulation areas and controls to adjust environment conditions such as heat, cold, noise and low-light.

Other law enforcement agencies would be able to use the training facility for a user fee.

There would also be a public firing range, separate from the law enforcement side of the facility, where members and day users could rent or purchase firearms.

The company is in the permitting process with the city, Duscha said. The company would likely start construction at the end of next year, he said.

Longview Tactical Inc. would contribute about 1.35 acres of land worth $380,000, about $700,000 in equipment and about $50,000 in permitting and conceptual designs for the project. The city would pay about $700,000, plus $271,000 in state grant funds, for a 25-year lease with the company. The city is also working on an additional $150,000 grant for the facility.

The council Thursday will also hold its second public hearing on the 2019-2020 budget and capital improvements plan.

The council faced vocal criticism at its Nov. 15 public hearing regarding its proposal to cut the library’s budget by 25 percent, or about $1 million, to pay for an additional police officer and three fire department paramedics.

The City Council has already committed funding for the paramedics by accepting a federal grant that covers 75 percent of the wages and benefits of the three firefighters for the first and second years, and 35 percent during the third year. The fire department budget would increase by about $724,000 over two years.

Duscha has said he requested six additional police officers for next year to keep up with a growing population, increasing housing developments and plans to annex unincorporated land in West Longview. The one additional officer would increase the police budget by $220,000.

The library, which would shoulder the lion’s share of the cuts to fund the additional positions, would likely cut an adult literacy program called Fire It Up, the Koth Gallery, Northwest Voices, Culture Cards, book clubs and outreach in the Highlands. The city would also cut five employee positions but maintain the library’s current hours of operation.

Proposed additions to the 2019-2020 budget also include about $175,000 for a new assistant city manager, $137,000 for street maintenance, $36,000 for playground replacement parts, $30,000 for vandalism repairs and $3,000 for walking tour brochures.

Following the public hearing, the council is expected to vote on whether to adopt the budget.

The City Council is also expected to vote on funding for 2019-2020 capital improvement projects, which are separate from the city’s operating budget. Planned capital projects include refurbishing the Commerce Avenue street clock, replacing a fuel tank at the Mint Valley Golf Course, installing self check-out units and tagging systems at the library, improving irrigation at Lake Sacajawea, replacing playground equipment, installing plumbing and ventilation in the police locker room, adding accessibility features and exterior improvements to the Columbia Theatre. Expenditures are estimated at $420,300 in 2019 and $200,000 in 2020.

In other business, the council will consider:

  • Accepting the donation of banners on downtown streetlight poles. Downtown business owner Dawn Gregg has offered to raise money for the displays.
  • Providing a utility rate reduction program for transitional housing providers. Total program benefits are estimated at $200,000 annually.
  • Extending its contract with Longview Municipal Defense through 2020 for indigent defense services. The city would continue to pay about $49,600 a month.
  • Closing out the Longview police station remodel project.
  • Appointing citizens to various boards and commissions. (The meeting agenda, which contains the full list of appointments, is attached to the online version of this story at TDN.com.)
  • A new contract with the Humane Society of Cowlitz County for animal control services. The city would pay $32,000 in 2019, $327,600 in 2020 and $344,000 in 2021.

The council meeting will start at 7 p.m. in Longview City Hall.

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