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The Longview City Council on Thursday will consider a property owner-requested tree removal and replacement policy recommended by the Parks and Recreation Board and the Tree Board.

Property owners would be able to ask the city to remove and replace trees that are in the planting strip adjacent to their property and are on the city’s “prohibited trees” list. A new tree would be planted to keep the urban forest population the same, according to city documents.

Prohibited trees include poplars, conifers, mulberries, sycamores, weeping willows, box elders, female gingkos, flowering plums, cottonwoods, catalpas, hawthorns, crabapples, Kwansan cherries, birches, horse chestnuts and sweet gums.

The city would cover the removal costs and the applicant would pay $300 to cover the replacement tree and planting costs. The department would grant 30 removals a year.

The council will also consider increasing the utility rate reduction program limit for low- income seniors and disabled citizens. Annual increases from the Social Security Administration often disqualify families from the rate reduction program without significantly helping their economic situation, according to the city.

Staff is recommending increasing the income limit for a qualifying single person household from $22,750 this year to $23,950, and increasing the two person household limit from $26,000 to $27,350. The proposed income limit for a household with five or more people would be $36,900.

In addition, transitional housing organizations that provide free living quarters could qualify for a 25% rate reduction on sewer consumption charges.

Longview staff will also recommend selling a plat of abandoned rail corridor as excess property. The International Paper Company transferred the property to Longview last year as part of the city’s efforts to construct Beech Street between 14th Avenue and California Way.

However, city staff has not identified a beneficial use for the land, according to meeting documents, and recommends declaring it surplus and selling it to adjacent property owners for their own development. The fair market value is $2.75 per square foot, but the council can find that the property promotes economic development and set the price at 50% of the fair market value, or $1.375 per square foot. Revenue from the sale would go to the Arterial Street Fund.

The council will also consider appointing Dan Jacobs, Jim Hansen and Trey Davis to a committee to draft the pro statement in the Voter’s Guide for the proposed West Longview annexation. Tim Todd, Helen Greenman and Marvin McCully would be considered for the con statement committee.

Also during the regular meeting, the council will consider:

  • Authorizing the police department to apply for a three-year $276,000 grant to hire a civilian advocate to assist the victims of violent crimes in Longview.
  • Awarding two contracts totaling about $580,800 to Weatherguard for new roofs at City Hall and Fire Station 81 on Commerce Avenue.
  • Authorizing the vacation of three sections of unimproved right of way next to Cowlitz County property. The county would get that land, in exchange for a parcel of land on the Cowlitz County Event Center property, to build a hotel at the event center.
  • Approving collective bargaining agreements with ATU, the River Cities Transit union, for 2019-2021, which includes a 2.75% cost of living adjustment retroactive to January 2019, a 2.5% in 2020 and a 2.25% increase in 2021.
  • Amending the city code to eliminate inconsistencies regarding unfit structures.

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

Ahead of the meeting, the council will hold a workshop at 6 p.m. to review the 2019 legislative session and the city’s priorities regarding the Beech Street extension, Lake Sacajawea bathroom renovations, the state environmental permitting process and economic development.

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