Richland residents can learn about the city's proposed 2014 budget and major projects planned next year at a town hall meeting tonight.
The session starts at 7 p.m. at the Richland Public Library, 955 Northgate Drive. It also will be shown live on CityView channel 13.
The proposed 2014 budget totals $256 million, up 2.2 percent over this year. It includes a $58 million general fund, which pays for services such as police, fire, parks and general administration.
"This budget reflects the journey we have been on in the last year," City Manager Cindy Johnson wrote in a budget introduction. "... (it) sets us on a path of being prepared to implement the projects we have been planning for quite some time."
The proposed spending plan covers a list of projects, including more than $900,000 in improvements to Columbia Playfield and John Dam Plaza and a new $3.5 million fire station in the City View Drive-Duportail area.
The new station would "serve an area that's grown sufficiently to warrant it," Fire Chief Grant Baynes told the Herald last month. "By doing that, it reduces the draw down on the other stations. It improves the response times throughout the city and the entire community."
The budget doesn't include a property tax increase. A 1.1 percent electric utility tax increase is factored in to help pay for the new fire station, along with a bump in the ambulance utility fee. The electric utility rate still would be lower than in neighboring cities, according to the budget note.
Johnson's introduction and more detailed information about the proposed 2014 spending plan are on the city's website, www.ci.richland.wa.us.
-- Sara Schilling: 582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @saraTCHerald