Port Angeles council sets hearings on capital facilities plan

PORT ANGELES — Two public hearings are scheduled this month on a proposed capital facilities plan that lists more than 250 current and future city projects.

The Port Angeles City Council vetted the plan in a special meeting last week and will conduct public hearings on the proposal Tuesday and June 18.

A council majority directed staff last Tuesday to add to the list of unfunded projects a 10-year-old American Institute of Architects recommendation to “decouple” First and Front streets by making them two-lane roads with bicycle lanes.

The 292-page 2020-25 Capital Facilities Plan and Transportation Improvement Plan is available on the city’s website, www.cityofpa.us, under “Finance.”

Both public hearings on the proposal will begin at 6:30 p.m. or shortly thereafter in the City Council chambers at City Hall, 321 E. Fifth St., Port Angeles.

“The capital facilities plan is a component of the Comprehensive Plan,” Finance Director Sarina Carrizosa told the seven-member council Tuesday.

“And essentially, the Comprehensive Plan feeds into the budget, the strategic plan, the capital facilities plan, long range financial plan, and then each one of those things make up our city work plan.”

Major projects listed for 2019-20 include the construction of a new light operations building near the public works equipment storage complex near the intersection of West Lauridsen Boulevard and the Tumwater Truck Route.

The city has saved reserves to pay for the estimated $5.8 million City Light project without raising rates for customers.

Major projects planned for 2021 include the reconstruction of Race, Hill and Lincoln streets, Carrizosa said.

Senior Accountant MarySue French presented a series of slides showing the funded and unfunded projects in the proposed Capital Facilities Plan and Transportation Improvement Plan.

The 272 projects in the proposal are divided into 11 categories: general government, public safety, parks and recreation, electric, water, wastewater, combined sewer overflow and solid waste, stormwater, equipment services, information technology and transportation.

The City Council applied five directives for this year’s Capital Facilities Plan.

They are:

• Little to no rate impact.

• Set aide cash equal to the prior year’s depreciation.

• Leverage projects. For example, replace water and sewer lines during road reconstruction.

• No new debt.

• Focus on preventive maintenance.

City Engineer Jonathan Boehme said the capital facilities plan, or CFP, includes several chip seal projects that will help preserve streets and alleys.

Chip seals are about three times more cost effective than asphalt overlays, Boehme said.

City Council member Michael Merideth said chip seals will only go so far.

“I realize that black stuff [asphalt] is expensive, and it costs a lot of money to do a very short distance, but it’s always been in the back of my mind … that sooner or later we’re going to get backed into an ugly corner,” Merideth said of deferred maintenance.

Boehme agreed, saying the city has a deferred maintenance backlog of about $50 million for streets and alleys.

“The focus of what we put here in the CFP is ‘Let’s find the roads that haven’t failed yet and preserve those roads that are in a current serviceable condition,’ ” Boehme said.

“Some of the roads that have already failed, we just have to let them fail until we are able to identify sufficient funding to help reconstruct those roads.”

The city recently rebuilt a failed section of West 10th Street between N and I streets at a cost of about $2.5 million.

City voters in 2017 approved a local Transportation Benefit District with a 0.2 percent sales tax increase that contributed $504,999 to the 10th Street project.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsula dailynews.com.

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