Budget hearings postponed
Blaine city council has closed the public hearing on next year’s budget but won’t vote on it until city manager Gary Tomsic does a little tweaking.
At their last meeting in November city council members agreed to postpone approval until their December 12 meeting at Tomsic’s request. “We need to make sure we have some funds available for our airport study,” said mayor John Liebert.
The city’s $40 million budget is up 9 percent from last year due to a broad menu of capital projects kicking off in 2006, including the new wastewater treatment plant, said finance director Meredith Riley.
Airport study gets green light
Suggested by mayor John Liebert, a study that will examine alternative uses for the Blaine Municipal Airport got the go-ahead from council in response to the November voter approval of a measure to “explore the feasibility of closing the Blaine municipal airport.” Funds for the study, however, have not yet been allocated in the city budget.
Sewer rate increase official
An anticipated 12.5 percent increase in Blaine’s wastewater rates became official at the November 28 meeting of Blaine city council. The general facilities fee for new connections also increased to $4,725, becoming the second highest in the county.
The increase comes on the heels of a 25 percent hike last year and it’s not expected to be the last as the city embarks on a $30 million new sewer treatment plant project.
City public works director Steve Banham said they will continue to review their revenue needs annually and make rate adjustments accordingly. “2006 will be a defining year for us to identify grants and loans,” he said.