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Public Hearing on Proposed 2015-2016 Biennial Budget

The City of Lakewood will hold a public hearing on its proposed 2015-2016 Biennial Budget during the Lakewood City Council meeting Monday, Nov. 3.

The meeting begins 7 p.m., at Lakewood City Hall, 6000 Main Street SW.

The proposed 2015-2016 Biennial Budget – which City Manager John Caulfield presented Oct. 6 - is a balanced budget that results in residents getting an increase in services. One example: For the first time in a number of years, this budget increases resources to preserve and maintain the City’s road system, which is a key priority identified by the Lakewood City Council. This budget reflects the City’s commitment to providing quality services and amenities to residents while reestablishing Lakewood’s short- and long-term financial viability.

The budget also includes funding for several new park improvement projects, including upgrades to the Waughop Lake Trail, expansion of Springbrook Park, replacement of playground equipment and new docks at Harry Todd Park, and trail improvements at the Chambers Creek Properties in partnership with the City of University Place and Pierce County.

An essential component of this budget is the City’s allocation of financial resources to establish a proper level of reserves. The 2015-16 budget gradually returns the City to sound financial footing by replenishing General Fund reserves to meet its 12% policy objective by the end of 2016. The reserves are intended to accommodate unexpected operational changes, legislative impacts and other economic events that affect the City's operations.

This balanced and strategic approach has resulted in a spending plan that adapts to the changing needs of our community without compromising our financial future.

In terms of numbers, General Fund operating revenues are projected to grow 3.0% in 2015 and another 1.2% in 2016, which is slightly better than historical trend between 2009 and 2014, when the average growth was closer to 1.2% per year. General Fund operating expenditures are projected to grow 0.4% in 2015 followed by 2.0% in 2016, reflecting the necessary changes to stop using one-time monies and reserves to balance the budget. Simply put, that practice is not sustainable.

The end result of this budget is that the General Fund will be balanced and operating expenditures will not exceed operating revenues, resulting in a positive operating margin in both 2015 and 2016.

The City is dedicated to meeting service demands and providing them to our citizens, both in the near- and long-term. This requires reevaluating the paradigms that have been governing the City for a number of years.

We will be looking to economic development, focusing primarily in our commercial areas, to generate additional property and sales taxes. Locally, we see nothing but opportunity in our key commercial areas such as the Towne Center, Springbrook, Tillicum, and the Pacific Highway South corridor, which is directly adjacent to I-5 with multiple prime properties ready for redevelopment and revitalization. Areas such as the International District and Woodbrook Industrial Business Park area stand ready and available for new investment to create jobs and opportunity for Lakewood and our region.

Halloween Tips

Photo courtesy of  ChIandra4U (rgbstock.com)The City of Lakewood would like to wish everyone a happy and SAFE Halloween.

To help you out with the "safe" part, we've provided below some great Halloween "Do's and Don'ts" and ideas to help everyone enjoy their trick-or-treating and their loot! They come courtesy of the City’s Community Safety Resource Team.

Here's hoping you can stay as dry and warm as possible!

FOR TRICK-OR-TREATERS

  • Eat dinner before going out
  • Take your parents or an adult with you
  • Wear a costume made of flame retardant material
  • Make sure costume that doesn’t drag on ground
  • Wear shoes that fit. (Even if they don’t match costume.)
  • Avoid wearing a mask while walking so you can see clearly and to the sides.
  • Carry only flexible knives, swords or other props
  • WALK!
  • Stay on sidewalks if possible
  • If no sidewalk, walk on left side of road facing traffic
  • Obey traffic signals
  • Stay in familiar neighborhoods
  • Do NOT cut across yards or driveways
  • Carry a flashlight
  • Wear clothing with reflective markings or tape
  • Approach only houses that are lit
  • Stay away from animals you don’t know
  • Have your parents inspect candy before eating it (tampering is very rare.)

FOR HOMEOWNERS

  • Clear yard/walkway of ladders, hoses, dog leashes, flower pots, etc.
  • Put pets away
  • Use battery-powered Jack-o-lanterns
  • If using real candles, place pumpkin away from walkway and doorway
  • Make sure paper or cloth decoration can’t blow into a candle flame
  • Pass out single serve, healthy food alternatives to candy:
    •  Crackers
    •  Single-serve boxes of cereal
    •  Fruit rolls
    •  Dried fruit
    •  Packaged microwave popcorn
    • Pass out non-food treats:
    •  Plastic jewelry Pencils/Erasers
    •  Stickers Coins

Gas Main Work Begins Next Week in Lakewood

Here's a heads up about some gas main work that will start next week in Lakewood.

Starting on Monday, Nov. 3,, Puget Sound Energy’s contractor, Infrasource, will be replacing the gas main on Gravelly Lake Drive between 500 feet south of Pacific Highway to Nyanza Road.

The work will be completed in the outside southbound lane requiring temporary daytime closures of this lane. Temporary asphalt patching material will be placed with permanent patching completed when weather permits. Work is estimated to take approximately three weeks.

More Work on I-5, Weather Permitting

Crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation are hoping for no tricks and all treats when it comes to the weather so they can finish an Interstate 5 paving project in Pierce County this weekend. 

Weather permitting, on Friday, Oct. 31, crews will continue their work on southbound I-5 from the Berkeley Street interchange to the Joint Base Lewis-McChord main gate interchange. Southbound traffic will be reduced to one lane starting at 7 p.m. Short-term overnight ramp closures will also take place at the JBLM main gate interchange. The lanes and ramps will reopen by 5 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 1.

As long as the weather cooperates, work will continue overnight on Saturday, Nov. 1 from the JBLM main gate interchange to the southbound I-5 Mounts Road exit in DuPont. Southbound traffic will be reduced to one lane starting at 7 p.m. Short-term overnight ramp closures will take place at the JBLM main gate, Steilacoom-DuPont Road and Center Drive interchanges. The lanes and ramps will reopen by 5 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 2.

As previously experienced, in the event of rain, this work will be rescheduled to a later date. No work is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 30, due to rain in the forecast.

Lakewood City Council to Commemorate Veterans Day on Nov. 3

On Monday, Nov. 3, the Lakewood City Council will honor the heroes who have sacrificed so much to keep our country safe.

As part of its annual Veterans Day Proclamation, the City Council will recognize the valor and accomplishments of many of our local veterans. The event begins at 7 p.m., at Lakewood City Hall, 6000 Main St. SW.

First, the City Council will recognize Mayor Emeritus and Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William “Bill” Harrison, the City’s first Mayor. The military recently honored the former 7th Infantry Division and I Corps commander by naming a building – “Harrison Hall” - in his honor at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. During his career, Harrison served as the commanding general of 7th Infantry Division, I Corps and Fort Lewis. He was elected as Lakewood’s first Mayor in October 1995. Harrison Hall will serve as 7th Infantry Division's headquarters building.

The City Council will also honor Carlene Joseph, 2014 AUSA National Award recipient of the Major General Anthony J. Drexel Biddle Medal, which is awarded to the individual who has contributed most significantly to the advancement and mission of AUSA. Joseph joined the organization in 2002, made an immediate impact with the authoring of the Chapter’s newsletter and was voted President of the Captain Meriwether Lewis Chapter in 2009.

Finally, the City Council will make its proclamation of November being Veterans Appreciation Month. This year, the City will recognize Anne Sprute, Founder and CEO of RallyPoint/6, Washington’s largest one-stop resource center for transitioning service members, veterans and their families located in Lakewood.

The night will also feature representation from 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division (the "Lancer Brigade" is the City’s Community Connector to JBLM), ROTC groups from both Clover Park and Lakes High School and a video tribute.