APRA and Water Rate Press Release (12-28)

Contact

MaryAlice Wallis             360-430-2517

Ruth Kendall                      360-430-0420

Steve Moon                       360-560-0059

Hillary Strobel                   360-562-0249

Mike Wallin                       360-560-3636

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Longview Plans for Recovery and Invests in Infrastructure and Housing

Longview City Council allocated an investment of more than $8 million in Federal American Rescue Plan Act funds in infrastructure and housing and increased the water rate 3.7% to construct a dedicated water reservoir fill main to improve water quality.

 

LONGVIEW, WA December 28th, 2021      On an unusually snowy December Tuesday evening the Longview City Council met in a Special Meeting to finish up work for the year by unanimously adopting a Resolution outlining the City’s plans to utilize more than Eight Million Dollars in American Rescue Plan Act (APRA) Federal Recovery funds. The Council also unanimously approved a 3.7% increase in the water rate to construct a dedicated water main to the reservoir to improve water quality and reliability.

Mayor MaryAlice Wallis said “the immediate use of ARPA funds for long term solutions to help maintain and enhance the City’s water and sewer infrastructure and encourage additional housing opportunities in Longview is a monumental win for generations to come.”

The President of the United States, in April, signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which included $350 billion in emergency funding for eligible state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments to respond to the COVID-19 emergency. The City of Longview will receive $8.1 million in ARPA funding. Options for the City of Longview’s ARPA allocation included funding investments in eligible critical infrastructure, programs to promote housing opportunities and contributing to sustaining the City’s financial health. Upon considering the one-time nature of ARPA funds, the City Council formed a subcommittee of Council Member Ruth Kendall, Council Member Hillary Strobel and Mayor Pro Tem Mike Wallin to explore the City of Longview’s greatest needs and consider the most prudent use of ARPA funds.

 

The Council Sub-Committee recommended to the Council a plan of infrastructure investment, development assistance and revenue replacement.

 

“The Sub-Committee worked closely with City administration over the period of several months and we worked very well together,” said Wallin, “I am proud of the work of my colleagues, and we have proposed a plan with a shared goal and shared commitment to invest in water and sewer infrastructure improvements to encourage housing development, improve water quality and address other key infrastructure projects.”

 

Development assistance includes utility infrastructure with the construction of new water and sewer mains and assistance through developer agreements for development near Pennsylvania Street, Olive Way, 30th Avenue, Pine Street and Ocean Beach Highway, opening more than 71 acres for residential housing development of all housing types.

 

The Council’s Adopted Plan for the APRA funds include the construction of a new dedicated water reservoir fill line, the reconstruction of the Beech Streets’ stormwater culvert, a storm water irrigation system at the Mint Valley golf course, improvements to the Clark Creek area water pump system, and providing for the Indian Creek stormwater detention facility.

 

Council Member Kendall said, “A dedicated water fill line to the main reservoir will resolve many issues with Longview’s water distribution system allowing for more reliable and cost effective operation and more consistent water quality across the system.”  Council Member Kendall continued, “This investment will address inconsistent water pressure, reduce over chlorination, allow for the optimization of  dissolved oxygen addition, and reduce pump wear and power consumption. It will also increase system capacity as future water demand grows, a true investment in the future for generations to come.”

 

The Sub-Committees proposal for the use of the APRA funds to construct the dedicated water fill line was conditioned upon and required a water utility rate increase of 3.7% to supplement the allocation of $2 million in ARPA funds. Rates would be used to pay the debt service on $3 million bonded to complete the $5 million project, an increase in rates of about $1.23 per month for the average household in Longview.

 

“This additional investment in critical water, sewer and drainage infrastructure will improve our water quality and encourage new housing development,” said Council Member Steve Moon, a vocal champion of infrastructure improvements. Moon agreed with the Council and the Council voted unanimously to adopt a sub-committee’s recommendations for an infrastructure spending plan for the American Rescue Plan Act (APRA) Federal Recovery funds.

In addition to improvements to the City’s infrastructure, the Council also approved additional investments to fund improvements to City facilities including technology upgrades for the Library, Cyber security upgrades at the Mint Farm Filter Plant, and more.

 

 

“The use of ARPA funds replacing city revenues to address deferred maintenance and repair issues at the Library, Women’s Club Building, Longview Police Department Building, Golf Pro Shop Building and other facilities will improve these facilities in a timelier manner than would not have otherwise been immediately possible,” said Council Member Hillary Strobel “and the investment in our Library’s technology as a community center for all ages is critical to our future in the post-covid world.”

 

“This once in a lifetime opportunity to invest more than $8 million in critical infrastructure is a showcase for the benefits of collaboration amongst City Council, which is always going to be a win for the residents of our community. We worked very well with our outstanding city staff, who guided us in choosing projects that create the most benefit and efficiency in the most cost-effective ways.” Strobel said, “Its going to generate positive ripple effects in both physical and human infrastructure for years to come, as the City makes these investments in our residents.”

 

###