Pasco officials plan to add 11 new employees and an animal shelter in 2017, and start renovations to City Hall.
The City Council is seeking comments about the 2017 preliminary budget, which will be presented during a workshop at 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 525 N. Third Ave.
A public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 21, before the council approves the budget on Dec. 5.
Comments can be submitted online at bit.ly/Pasco-council.
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Six firefighters — five full-time and one part-time — represent the largest addition to the city’s labor force. The five full-time positions will be located at an existing station on Road 48.
The addition comes after an emergency master plan for the city’s fire and ambulance services determined “significant deficiencies” in the time it takes to respond to emergencies in the Riverview area in the southwest section of the city, according to City Manager Dave Zabell’s budget.
City officials are proposing $250,000 in improvements so a unit can be housed at the station.
“Planning, constructing, equipping and staffing of a fully operational 24/7 station is an expensive and long-term proposition and is not practical in this budget cycle,” Zabell said. “However ... modest improvements to the existing station on Road 48, sufficient to house a peak demand unit, is practical and recommended.”
The city is planning on a $1.90 per month increase to the ambulance utility fee. That would raise the rate from $12.65 to $14.55 a month.
An ambulance cost-of-service study showed the city would need to implement a $21.13 per month fee to recover all of the costs for the service.
“(The proposed increase) is well below the recommendation derived from the rate study and, more important, provides an enormous benefit in terms of community safety in relation to the cost,” Zabell said.
Along with the firefighters stationed on Road 48, the city plans to add a part-time community risk reduction official to establish a safety education program, aimed at reducing injuries to vulnerable people.
The budget also calls for adding a fourth area resource police officer, a facility worker for the new police community service building and a code enforcement officer.
The budget includes $600,000 for the city’s portion of a joint animal shelter between Pasco, Kennewick and Richland.
“A joint study (between the cities) was completed this year and presented options for location, size, design concepts and approximate budget for the construction of the facility,” Zabell said.
The cities agreed to the operating agreement and the location, construction and payment for a new shelter.
The proposal also includes $425,000 to improve Peanuts Park. The 1-acre plaza on Fourth Avenue is a focal point for redeveloping the city’s downtown, Zabell said.
“The aging park is in need of upgrading and, if done well, will set the theme and tone of the downtown core,” he said. “(The budgeted amount) will provide for design, environmental review and associated public outreach.”
City officials are planning to begin remodeling City Hall as the police department begins moving into its new $8 million building east of the parking lot.
When staff examined how to use the additional space, they discovered deficiencies with the building’s air handling system would be exacerbated by an extensive remodel, Zabell said. As a result, the staff is proposing moving the city’s information systems and prosecutor’s office to the second floor space where the police department was located.
The project would be paid for using a bond.
The city is looking at a improvements to Oregon Avenue and the electronics related to 11 traffic lights. The estimated $6.7 million Oregon Avenue project includes adding “pedestrian facilities” and other improvements aimed at increasing the safety of people using the road.