City Briefs

Blaine City Council closes construction on energy conservation project

The city has officially completed the construction phase of a project to boost energy efficiency at city facilities.

The ESCO Energy Conservation Project began in September 2013 after an energy audit of city facilities. On Monday, Blaine City Council voted unanimously to consider the construction phase of the project complete.

The project included improvements to city hall’s heating and air conditioning system; the replacement of a heat pump at the Public Works building at 1200 Yew Avenue; and the installation of a new air intake system, high-efficiency blower, air share valve and intake pumps at the Lighthouse Point Water Reclamation Facility on Marine Drive.

The project came in under budget at $2,646,758 and was funded by a $500,000 state grant, $1,670,000 in general obligation bond proceeds and $311,281 in Bonneville Power Administration rebates, according to a staff report.

The city is slated to see more than $125,000 in energy savings per year and about $250,000 in operational and energy cost savings per year once the bond is retired.

City gives update on 665, 633 and 625 Peace Portal buildings

The owners of two of three buildings on Peace Portal Drive that have been ordered to either repair or vacate the premises have told the city they are interested in making repairs. Notices had been given to the owners of the buildings located at 665, 633 and 625 Peace Portal Drive. In May, the city issued a mandate ordering the demolition of 665 Peace Portal, owned by Seattle resident Guenter Mannhalt who did not contest the order.

In June, owners of all three downtown buildings were ordered by the city to either repair or vacate the premises. The 625 and the 633 buildings, owned by the Jacaranda Land Corporation and Colette Cloutier, respectively, require repairs because they are structurally connected to Mannhalt’s building.

In a report to city council on October 23, Blaine community development director Michael Jones and Blaine building official Tim Woodard said Jacaranda and Cloutier have indicated they are interested in making the necessary repairs.

In August, the city council approved a mid-year budget adjustment, which allocated $100,000 for demolition costs of “condemned buildings” with costs eventually being recouped through property liens. Woodard then put the demolition of 665 Peace Portal up for bid but received no response. Woodard said contractors were concerned about the dilapidated state of the building and unknown additional costs. The city intends to hire a contractor to survey the building for asbestos and determine a path forward.

Blaine City Council to consider property tax increase

The city is considering a 1 percent increase of the regular property tax for the coming year.

During a meeting on October 23, Blaine finance director Jeffrey Lazenby said the city would generate just about $11,000 in additional revenue, in addition to higher receipts resulting from new construction and property improvements, if approved by Blaine City Council.

For homeowners with a property valued at $250,000, they’d see an increase of $3.25 for the year, Lazenby said. Blaine receives an average 13 percent of the total property tax per year, while the rest is remitted to the state, county and other public agencies.

In Blaine, 56 percent of property tax revenue is allocated to the city’s street capital bond, 18 percent to the general fund, 14 percent funds street improvement projects and 12 percent pays for street operations.

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