Pasco's revenue up $1.5M from same time period last year

By Geoff Folsom, Tri-City HeraldOctober 21, 2013 

The Pasco City Council celebrated some good news for city revenue at its Monday meeting.

Overall 2013 revenue through September was reported at $26.01 million, up almost $1.5 million from the same time last year, according to the city's general operating fund statement. Spending was up by $574,846, largely because of an increase in police expenses.

"We're about a million dollars ahead of last year," Councilman Bob Hoffmann said after a nine-minute council meeting.

The increase largely was because of more sales tax revenue. The 2013 year-to-date sales tax collection was reported at $7.1 million, up from $6.48 through the first nine months of 2012, a 9.6 percent increase.

Mayor Matt Watkins, a member of the board for Ben Franklin Transit, said more sales tax revenue is coming in across the Tri-Cities. That was one reason the agency recently was able to restore night service that had been cut, he added.

Mayor Pro-Tem Rebecca Francik hadn't done much shopping until she recently had to replace her washing machine, she said.

"I was surprised by how many people were out and about in the mall," she said.

Deputy City Manager Stan Strebel said the city has to be careful comparing year-to-year numbers, because some payments come in at different times in different years.

Also Monday:

w The council approved an agreement to pay for a consultant on a new park it is building with the Pasco School District by a 4-3 vote, with Hoffmann joining Al Yenney and Tom Larsen in opposition. The agreement pays CKJT Architects of Kennewick $35,980, using park impact fees that are charged to developers.

Yenney said the city may have been able to save money had it sent out for the contract on its own.

"I think working with the school district is probably a positive, but I think this is probably a little high," he said. "I think if we were to contract this out, we could have saved $10,000, possibly $12,000."

But Francik said the agreement includes services the city hasn't gotten with architectural services in the past, such as safety inspections.

"There's got to be some cost savings when you think about it being one cohesive project," said Francik, a librarian in the school district. "The school district is pretty lean and mean with their dollars."

The five-acre park is being built near a planned elementary school at Road 60 and Three Rivers Drive. It is estimated to cost between $250,000 and $300,000.

w The council approved an agreement to extend water services to new developments northwest of the city, located near Kohler and Burns roads in Pasco's urban growth boundary. The city would pay no more than $290,000, or 43 percent of the total cost.

w The council approved a second six-month moratorium on approving recreational marijuana-related businesses in Pasco. The moratorium goes through September 2014, but can be dropped if the council passes regulations to deal with marijuana businesses. The city plans to research what similar cities have done and study discrepancies between state and federal law.

w The council approved two contracts, totaling $29,970 for repairs to city hall, including sandblasting and putting new stucco on the building.

w Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543; gfolsom@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom

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