Port Angeles extends PIBA fees waiver

PORT ANGELES — The city of Port Angeles has extended a waiver on Parking and Business Improvement Area fees though the third quarter of this year and waived interest on all accounts through July.

The City Council voted 7-0 Tuesday to extend the PBIA fee and interest waiver to help residents and business owners saddled with impacts of COVID-19.

Clallam County is in Phase 2 of the state’s four-phase reopening plan.

“Businesses need to be doing some planning on how to reopen, planning on how to comply with Phase 2 and Phase 3 requirements,” Council member Mike French said in a four-hour virtual meeting Tuesday.

“They don’t need to be worried about invoices for businesses that may not be operating. So this is a good action that we’re taking.”

Extension

The council in April waived PBIA fees and interest on all accounts receivable through June. The Tuesday action extends the PBIA fee waiver though September.

City Manger Nathan West declared an emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic March 17.

The council then directed staff to provide utility bill relief and rental assistance to city residents.

Applications for rental relief and utility bill assistance are available on the city’s website, www.cityofpa.us.

The Port Angeles COVID-19 relief program began with $250,000 in general fund contingencies for utility bill relief and $50,000 in sales tax revenue for residential rental assistance.

On May 12, the city transferred $37,000 in uncommitted Community Development Block Grant funding to the rental assistance program.

As of last week, the city had provided $110,000 in utility bill relief to 420 customers, West said.

“To date, we have spent approximately $60,000 on rental assistance with a total of $87,000 that was previously allocated,” West added.

“Ultimately, we are again getting close to the dollar amount that was allocated, and we are still very hopeful that the Community Development Block Grant will move forward from the state in the very near future.”

The City Council is expected to discuss revenue sources for the COVID-19 pandemic in a work session next month.

Hearing set

In other discussion, the council opened a public hearing Tuesday on the proposed 2021-26 capital facility plan and transportation plan, both of which are available on the city’s website.

Council action is expected on the planning documents after a second public hearing July 7.

Meanwhile, several council members said they favored the virtual council meeting format that city staff has offered since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.

“I think we should continue providing live steaming of our council meetings, even past Phase 4,” Council member Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin said.

The public can view council meetings online and provide verbal comments via Webex or by phone.

“I think we should keep it going, even well past the COVID thing,” Council member Brendan Meyer said.

“I think that it just adds another tool to our toolbox of getting the council meetings out to the people.”

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at rollikainen@peninsula dailynews.com.

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