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$7 million in capital projects in next year's North Bend budget

NORTH BEND - North Bend's is planning on spending nearly $20 million next year, a total that encompasses more than $7 million in capital projects.

The $19.3-million budget is nearly $5 million more than this year's $14.4-million budget, due mostly to big, one-time expenditures such as $3.7 million toward finding water and building the infrastructure to purvey it to the city. The city has been in a building moratorium since 1999 after it found out it had been using more water than allowed to under state law. The city has been working on a plan to get the additional water and some options involve recapturing underground seepage water from the Cedar River and conveying it to the Snoqualmie River, or tapping into Seattle Public Utility's Tolt River pipeline and discharging water into Deep Creek, a tributary to the Snoqualmie River. Councilman Ross Loudenback said a plan should be picked and implemented in the next two years.

Those water source funds compose more than half of the $7 million the city is planning to spend on capital projects. Most are street projects and include the following:

* Park Street and Bendigo Boulevard traffic signal: The city will allocate money toward the design of a traffic signal at this intersection. Work is expected to begin and finish in 2008.

* Eighth Street bridge replacement: This bridge will be replaced by the end of next year.

* North Bend Way and Cedar Falls Way intersection improvement: In the coming months, the City Council will be presented with four options of what to do at this intersection, including two roundabouts and two signals. A decision should be made by early next year with construction following shortly thereafter.

* North Bend Park and Ride: Design will begin on the a Metro service park and ride lot on North Bend Way. The 50 to 100 car-lot will likely be located on both sides of North Bend Way at the intersection of Sydney Avenue. It is set to be completed by 2008.


* Eighth Street storm drain: Work will start on the replacement of storm drain on Eighth Street between Borst Avenue and Thrasher Avenue. Set to be completed by 2007.

* Public safety building: North Bend will fund a feasibility study for a new public safety facility to be built close to the city's public works building on Cedar Falls Way. The city has approached other public safety groups (e.g. King County Sheriff's Office, Washington State Patrol, Eastside Fire and Rescue) about what they would need at the building. The feasibility study should be done by the end of 2007.

* Torguson Park: The city plans on building a new soccer field at the park and it is set to be completed by 2006.

* Chlorine contact upgrade: North Bend needs to build an additional pipeline that will fulfill a state mandate for the city's chlorination of its water. It is set to be completed by 2006.

* Priority One storm improvements: The city will see how much money it can get from other sources outside of North Bend to fund the completion of storm drain improvements.

Not all of the projects come directly from city funds. Some are wholly or partly funded by state and federal grants.

The city's general fund, which funds the day-to-day operation of the city, will be $4.5 million (a 3.1-percent jump from last year's $4 million). City staff numbers will remain the same at 30.7 FTE (full-time equivalent positions).

Last year, North Bend spent $74,880 on human services for various Valley service groups. The mayor has recommended the same amount for this year.

Rates for storm drain and flood utilities are expected to remain the same, but the city is reviewing water, sewer and solid waste rates.

The city will also keep to its standing goals of putting 10 percent of its budget and two months of utilities operation expenses in reserves. North Bend will make $1.1 million in debt payments.

City finance director Elena Montgomery said the city's revenue will grow about 3 percent as the Puget Sound area economy continues to grow. Expenses, however, are growing faster than 3 percent. Once the city is out of its building moratorium and its tax base is able to grow, things should equalize, Montgomery said.

* North Bend will be hosting a public hearing on its 2006 budget at its City Council meeting at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 15, at the Mount Si Senior Center, 411 Main Ave. S., North Bend.

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