Itemizer-Observer

MONMOUTH — Monmouth’s 2021-22 budget of $50,417,873 became official June 1 after the City Council held something of an “un-hearing.” The hearing was offered, but there were no citizen comments.

The budget includes a cost-of-living allowance of 1.8% for non-represented staff, utility rate increases of 4% for Monmouth Power & Light and 5.5% for water funds. On the personnel front, the budget combines the part-time positions of police evidence clerk and police records clerk at an estimated net annual cost of $28,330, and has a groundman to backfill for MPL at no extra cost when an apprentice lineman is promoted.

The council also approved a 50/50 sidewalk improvement grant program, OK’d an amendment of the climate action resolution approved May 18, and acknowledged voter approval of a bond to build new city hall, building

On the sidewalk matter, the new budget includes $25,000 for the grant program. Owners of property adjacent to sidewalks have been held responsible for maintaining them free from danger and disrepair. The city receives reports of unsafe sidewalks every year, and some property owners have been shocked when told of their responsibility to repair them, city officials said.

The grant program, in which the city pays half the improvement cost, starts accepting applications July 1 of each year.

Funding for the program is limited to budgeted funds and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The city reimburses half the cost, not to exceed $1,000 per property, except that an additional $400 may go to corner lot property owners.

The grant fund is limited to repair or replace a sidewalk or construct one where none exists. Construction reimbursement for a new development is not allowed.

Property owners and/or licensed contractors are responsible for obtaining building permits and complying with city design standards.

Amending the climate action resolution, the council added mention of Western Oregon University as a potential partner in sustainability efforts.

Regarding the new city hall, City Manager Marty Wine thanked Monmouth voters for their 60% approval for the final third of funding for the $9 million project. Funding will be $3.65 million from urban renewal funds, $2.375 million from the sale of property, and up to $3 million from general obligation bonds.

Two routine items approved by the council were re-adoption of the city investment policy and updating of the fiscal policy. Approval of each is done annually.

Immediately before the council meeting, the board of directors of the Monmouth Urban Renewal Agency approved its 2021-22 budget of $3,807,900.

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