COVID response dominates 2020 town action

COVID response dominates 2020 town action

COVID response dominates 2020 town action

As we close in on the middle of 2021 and start the reopening process of Town Hall after being closed since April 2020, I thought it would be a good time to look back and recap how the town has handled all the challenges thrown its way.

As with other municipalities, the town saw an impact to many of its businesses attempting to make a living, along with residents trying to navigate all the rules and restrictions required to fight this virus. The town received Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funds from the federal government issued through the state in 2020. The Town Council offered three programs to use these funds to help the community: grants to businesses impacted by COVID, utility payment assistance for customers impacted by COVID and an opportunity to earn a credit towards utility bills by providing receipts for shopping local. These funds proved to be beneficial to both the businesses and citizens that received them.

The town will be receiving funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to help the continued recovery from the impacts from the economic slowdown created by the state-required restrictions and guidelines. The council will establish the programs, projects and priorities for how these dollars will be spent.   

For the first half of 2021, the town revenues have performed well and haven’t shown any major impacts to sales tax, property taxes or other revenues. Our local businesses have been creative and found ways to maintain or even increase business during these trying times. Also, the town continues to be a good steward of the citizens’ tax dollars and have watched spending to make sure we are utilizing those taxpayer dollars effectively and efficiently. The combination of the revenues and cautious spending have helped us weather the worst of this past year.

As we start our reopening plan, we have begun offering to the public concealed pistol licenses, fingerprinting, passport applications and planning and building services. We are excited to open back up to the public and have made some necessary improvements to protect the well-being of both citizens and staff.

The town completed several major construction projects within the last year, one being our water treatment plant adding a third filter for redundancy and a 110,000-gallon water storage clear well for additional capacity. This will provide the town a peace of mind by having the ability to keep up with demand in the event a filter fails or needs maintenance, especially during the summer months when water usage is in high demand. This $1.4 million dollar project was accomplished with the help of capital budget dollars from the state.

The second project was the road reconstruction of a portion of Pennsylvania Avenue North and Rainier Avenue South, along with a chip seal of a portion of Lynch Street. This project was accomplished with an approximately $400,000 grant from the Transportation Improvement Board. The town also received a $2.1 million grant in 2019 from the Puget Sound Regional Council to complete the Washington Avenue North streetscape project from Lynch Creek Road to just before the Center Street traffic signal. This project will go out to bid at the end of this year and is slated to begin the spring of 2022. This will complete a project that started back in 2006.

For the remainder of 2021, we look forward to our continued reopening of the town and will continue to provide our high level of service to our citizens.


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