Here’s what Pasco’s $450 million budget will pay for. And why all of Tri-Cities should care

These little guys need to find a forever home before the holidays

Adoptions at the Tri-City Animal Shelter in Pasco are half off from Nov. 12- Jan 5, 2019.
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Adoptions at the Tri-City Animal Shelter in Pasco are half off from Nov. 12- Jan 5, 2019.

There’s a bit of something for everyone in Pasco’s $450 million budget for the coming biennium.

A new animal shelter. Sports complex. Four new cops. A critical sewer line extension that is critical for the Broadmoor development. And, yes, higher rates for water and sewer customers.

The city council is preparing to finalize a $450 million spending plan for the 2019-20 biennium — the largest in its history.

It passed the budget on first reading on Monday. A second and final public hearing and vote is on the Dec. 3 agenda.

The 260-page document accounts for spending on everything from law enforcement and fire fighting to parks, planning and investing in roads and utility infrastructure.

Growth is the theme for 2019-20.

Pasco, population 75,000, is projected to add 51,000 new residents over the next two decades, putting pressure on the city to prepare for the added demand.

Major expenditures include $133 million for the general fund, which covers day-to-day city services, $78 million for capital projects and $96 million for water, sewer and irrigation services

Here’s the top 8 high profile priorities:

Animal Control02.jpg
The regional animal control agency and the related A2Z Animal Sheltering Services shelter will get a new facility in 2019. Animal Control is a joint venture of Kennewick, Richland and Pasco, with Pasco hosting the physical facility on city-owned land at 1312 S. 18th Ave., near the Columbia River. Noelle Haro-Gomez Tri-City Herald

1. Tri-Cities Animal Control

The regional animal control agency and the related A2Z Animal Sheltering Services will get its much-needed new facility in 2019. Animal Control is a joint venture of Kennewick, Richland and Pasco, with Pasco hosting the physical facility on city-owned land at 1312 S. 18th Ave., near the Columbia River.

Background: The three cities hammered out an agreement to build a new 8,000-square-foot shelter in late 2016. The current structure dates to the 1950s and is simply old and hard to repair, with failing utility lines. It lacks proper ventilation, making it unhealthy for animals, workers and visitors. Rodents thrive in the walls.

Budget: $5 million: $2 million from Pasco and $2.9 million from its partners.

Funding status: Fully funded

City comment: “Look for this long-standing goal to be checked off this budget cycle with completion of a new facility.”

Animal Control01.jpg
The regional animal control agency and A2Z Animal Sheltering Services is to get a new facility in 2019. Noelle Haro-Gomez Tri-City Herald

2. A new community center

As Pasco prepares for 51,000 new residents in the coming decades, it identified a need for an additional community center. In 2019, it will launch a public process to identify a location for the center, which will cost about $4 million.

Budget: $900,000 from real estate excise taxes in 2019, with the balance to be spent in 2020-2024.

Funding status: The city council must determine how to fund the remaining $3 million.

City comment: “The desire for a new community center was evident from the input received during the community forums earlier this year.”

3. ‘A’ Street Sporting Complex

Earlier this year, the city council agreed to use city-owned property on ‘A’ Street for badly needed sports fields.

Concept: The ‘A’ Street Sporting Complex will be designed and constructed in the coming biennium. It will include 8-14 new multi-use fields in a bid to keep users from looking outside the city for the fields they need.

Budget: $1 million, with $172,000 from park development revenue and a potential $900,000 Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office grant.

The city of Pasco is looking to make improvements to Peanuts Park, in downtown near the farmers market and the intersection of West Lewis Street and South 4th Avenue. Sarah Gordon Tri-City Herald file

4. Downtown park revamp

The 1.2-acre plaza near the Pasco Farmers Market is a key piece of the effort to revitalize downtown. It will serve as the western anchor for a rebuilt Lewis Street when the crosstown arterial is rerouted above the BNSF tracks in east Pasco in 2021.

The project: The plaza will become a family-friendly destination with modern restrooms, water features and amenities that support the Farmers Market.

The budget: $6 million, including $811,000 in Community Development Block Grant Funds and a $3.78 million federal HUD Section 108 loan.

Unfunded: $1.29 million.

City comment: “Centrally located, Peanuts Park is the focal point for the downtown area. ... the restoration of the park is a key element to the revitalization and redevelopment efforts.”

Construction crews demolish the St. Vincent De Paul at the intersection of West Lewis Street and First Avenue in 2014, clearing the way for an overpass to replace the crossing built in 1937 for the BNSF Railway. File Tri-City Herald

5. Lewis Street overpass

Rerouting Lewis Street over the BNSF tracks — instead of under — will be one of the biggest transportation projects in city history. The new bridge will retire a dangerously obsolete underpass while providing better connectivity across Pasco and an opportunity to revitalize downtown with the addition of bike lanes and sidewalks.

Status: Design work will be complete in 2019. Staff expects to secure the permit from BNSF in early 2019. Funding is incomplete.

Budget: $36 million, including designing, planning, land acquisition and construction. Funding sources include $15 million from the 2015 Connect Washington legislation, $6 million state Surface Transportation Program grant, and $1 million from the city street overlay fund.

Funding shortfall: $10 million. The city has applied for several grants to close the gap.

City comment: “Depending on the success (of grant applications), the project will be ready to go to construction in 2019.”

Stockpic Pasco police.jfif

6. More officers

The proposed budget adds four officers and a potential fifth, boosting the the police department ranks to 92, from 87.

Background: Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Police Services (COPS) awarded Pasco a $500,000 grant to hire four full-time officers to focus on homeless residents in the downtown core. The grant expires in 2021, so watch for the city to look for additional funding to keep the officers in the next budget cycle.

Budget: The department will spend about $17 million in 2019 and $18 million in 2020. Major initiatives include mapping overdoses, rolling out the homeless liaison program and training officers on mental health and crisis response.

7. Water, sewer, ambulance rates

The budget raises sewer rates by 4 percent and water rates by 3 percent.

The monthly ambulance fee will rise as well, though the city council is still considering options to minimize the increase.

Background: Pasco anticipates several costly infrastructure projects in coming years. Its sewer outfall is more than 50 years old and will be replaced at a cost of $6.5 million, funded from a revenue bond. A new lift station replacement at Pearl Street will cost nearly $1 million, with funding from a revenue bond.

By the numbers: The utility department employs about 60 people. The city’s water and sewer utility supplied and processed nearly 3.9 gallons of water through September, a 4 percent increase over the same period in 2017.

Budget: The utility’s budget will spike to nearly $79 million in 2019 because of upgrades at the industrial process water reuse facility, before settling back to the high $50 million range in 2019.

The Pasco School District says it has a new process for trying to compel developers and builders to pay an impact fee on new homes built in unincorporated areas of west Pasco to help pay for schools. This area west of Broadmoor Boulevard could include more than 8,000 homes some day.

8. Broadmoor sewer extension

It’s not sexy, but the sewer extension will transform Pasco’s west side in coming years.

The $3.8 million Harris Road sewer line will serve the 1,600-acre “Broadmoor” area west of Broadmoor Boulevard/Road 100, allowing high-density development.

Background: The city and property owners are completing a master plan to guide thoughtful development at Broadmoor. It is easily the largest and most prominent development site in the region thanks to its combination of easy freeway access and sweeping Columbia River views.

The city is working with the private owners on a vision that includes a mix of residential, commercial, recreational and visitor amenities.

The sewer lines that serve communities on the other side of Broadmoor are at capacity, so a new line is needed.

Budget: The city has spent more than $1 million on planning and design. Construction is expected to occur in 2019.

Funding sources: $3 million from 2015 and 2017 utility revenue bonds.

Unfunded: $878,000 is unsecured.

For more details on the proposed Pasco budget go to pasco-wa.gov.

Wendy Culverwell: 509-582-1514