The Mountlake Terrace City Council at its Thursday, June 1 meeting further discussed how councilmembers would like to see the city’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds spent.
City Manager Jeff Niten told the council that the list of funding options was quickly put together in the past week after city staff heard word from Washington, D.C. that any unallocated ARPA funds potentially could be retracted following federal debt ceiling negotiations. Because of this, Niten said the list placed before councilmembers did not contain everything they had wanted to discuss before allocating funds; it’s merely a rough draft.
“What I kept coming back to was infrastructure needs and community support,” Niten said. “Those were the two things … that seemed to me to be at the top of the priority list.”
The city has roughly $2.3 million left in ARPA funds. The list councilmembers reviewed June 1 – which included repairing the library roof and HVAC system, tiling the police station floor and Volunteer of America funding – totals roughly $2.4 million.
Councilmember Erin Murray told Niten she wants to make sure everything councilmembers had previously discussed for possible ARPA funding makes it on the list so that nothing is overlooked. Niten assured her that a full list would be provided to the council in early July.
Councilmember Laura Sonmore proposed a new idea for the remaining funds. Sonmore said she’s concerned about how light rail riders will be able to use the bathroom as Sound Transit has announced they don’t intend to install bathrooms for customers.
“I’m wondering if there could be a restroom put in Veterans Park that would allow travelers with Sound Transit to use the restroom,” she said. “They said they did not want to have restrooms because they didn’t want to deal with people trying to do drugs in them.”
While no other specific additions were made to the list, Councilmember Steve Woodard said the council should decide soon how the city will spend the rest of its ARPA funds, regardless of whether the funds are at risk of being taken away.
“Councilmember Woodard is right,” Mayor Pro Tem Bryan Wahl said. “We’ve been talking about this for two years; it’s time to make some decisions.”
Niten suggested that councilmembers allocate funds by the end of July at the latest. The council agreed with that timeline and expects to allocate the money before the end of July.
In other business, the council received a stormwater program update from Stormwater Program Manager Laura Reed. According to Reed, the city is beginning its 2024 Comprehensive Plan update and she wanted to review what has been accomplished in the past year and what projects are currently in construction before the new phase begins.
“The stormwater program has four main objectives,” she said. “Those are: repairing and replacing aging infrastructure, meeting the city’s requirements, protecting water quality and reducing flooding.”
Reed said staff are currently working on three projects that are expected to be completed before the end of the year. The Ballinger Park/Hall Creek restoration project is underway, while the 52nd Avenue West storm and road upgrade project is still out for bid but should be starting soon, she said. Later this year, work will begin on the decant facility retrofit project.
In addition, the council received a legislative update from Shelly Heldon of Gordon Thomas Honeywell Government Relations and a short overview from Niten regarding an amended contract for Interim Public Works Director Phil Williams, which will increase the amount from $200,000 to $220,000. The council is set to vote on the matter at its Monday, June 5, meeting.
The council’s June 5 business meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at Mountlake Terrace City Hall, 23204 58th Ave. W., Mountlake Terrace.
You can also attend the meeting virtually by going to https://zoom.us/join and entering meeting ID 844 1833 2151 and passcode: 98043.
To listen via telephone, call 1-253-215-8782 and enter the meeting ID and passcode listed above.
You also can view livestreamed meetings and past video recordings at www.youtube.com/cityofmlt.
— By Lauren Reichenbach