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6-Year Transportation Improvement Program Amendment

The City of Lakewood is proposing to amend its 6-Year Transportation Improvement Program(2015-2020) to include two recently-awarded Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) Grants. A summary of the changes are as follows:

  1. Add Project 2.81Roadway Safety Improvements at 40th Ave. SW and 96th St. SW per grant award. Federal grant: $823,000; City match: $20,000. Scope: Add guardrail, shared lane use markings, curb, gutter, sidewalk and street lighting. Upgrade street signs. Pave the road.
  2. Add 0Project 3.20 Military Rd. and 112th Safety Improvement per grant award/ Federal grant: $788,000; City Match: $17,000. Scope: Replace existing traffic signal to improve visibility and ooperations (including implementing flashing-yellow arrow operation); upgrade curb ramps to current American with Disabilities Act (ADA standards; upgrade street lighting; pave the intersection.
  3. Modify project budget for 2.55 High Accident Location Safety Improvements. Reduce city fundign by the amounts of city matching funds for the above added projects. Reallocate anticipated grant funds to the specific above added projects. Scope: Various safety improvements at high accident locations. Place holder project for safety grant program.

Lakewood's City Council will hold a public hearing regarding these amendments at 7 p.m. on Feb. 17, 2015 at Lakewood City Hall, 6000 Main St. SW. If unable to attend the public hearing, please forward any comments you have to: Desiree Winkler at dwinkler@cityoflakewood.us by no later than Feb. 16, 2015.

You can check out the drafts of each amendment here .

Permit Counter Hours Have Been Modified

Permit counter hours have been modified, effective Feb. 6.  The permit counter will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Clients are also strongly encouraged to call in and make appointments.

Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting

The City of Lakewood was recently awarded a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

This marks the first time since 2005 that the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) has recognized the City for its CAFR.

The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and it represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.

Only about 5 percent of cities nationwide receive the award.  Last year, only three cities in Pierce County and 37 cities in Washington State received a certificate.

“This is a tremendous honor for the City of Lakewood,” City Manager John Caulfield said. “It’s another indication that our employees are dedicating the highest quality, accuracy and transparency to their work on behalf of the citizens of Lakewood.”

The City’s Finance Division operates under the leadership of Assistant City Manager of Administrative Services Tho Kraus, who said she is especially proud of the division given that the City faced a tougher path to earning the designation because the City had not prepared a CAFR in eight years.

The preparation of the city’s 2014 CAFR will get underway shortly and expected to be completed later this summer. 

State Auditor's Office Recognizes Lakewood's Steps to Improve Finances

Six months ago, the City of Lakewood was one of 57 local governments that the Washington State Auditor’s Office determined were showing signs of declining financial condition.

What a difference good leadership and a commitment to prudent fiscal management can make.

This week, the Auditor’s Office published a case study that focuses on the City of Lakewood’s immediate and positive steps to improve its financial standing titled “Becoming fiscally fit – The City of Lakewood makes a bold commitment.”

The case study outlines how, starting in September 2014, the Lakewood City Council “demonstrated a strong commitment to prudent fiscal management by adopting a set of comprehensive financial policies that provides an essential foundation and framework for the City’s recovery to a more sustainable financial future.”

It’s a far cry from how the State Auditor’s Office identified Lakewood in August, when Lakewood was one of three Pierce County cities included in the report. The City showed declining or negative fund balances in 2011 and 2012, and it had been drawing down its reserve fund balances to maintain its operating expenses.

After the audit was released, the Lakewood City Council adopted policies in the following areas: operating budget, fund balance, revenue, expenditures, inter-fund loans, debt management, capital improvement, cash management and investments and financial reporting.

The case study released this week offered several examples of how Lakewood made a commitment to adhere to a set of rigorous financial policies. These recommended polices began with the City’s Finance Division, which is under the leadership of Assistant City Manager of Administrative Services Tho Kraus. They included:

  • Long-range forecast: With each budget, the City will update spending and revenue projections for the next six years. Projections will include estimated operating costs for capital improvements that are in the capital budget. Data will come to the City Council in a form that can facilitate budget decisions, based on a multi-year perspective.
  • Excess cash balances: Cash balances in excess of the amount required to maintain General and Street Operations & Maintenance Fund reserves may be used to fund one-time or non-recurring costs.
  • Quarterly financial reports:  The budget will be produced so that it can be directly compared to the actual results of the fiscal year and presented in a timely quarterly report. All budget amendments, both revenues and expenditures, will be noted in the quarterly financial report.
  • Enterprise fund balance:  The City will maintain a minimum cash balance in its enterprise funds equal to two months operating expenses, to ensure adequate maintenance reserves and cash flow. Higher balances may be used for capital projects.
  • Use of one-time/unpredictable revenues: The City will not use one-time revenues such as proceeds from the sale of land or surplus equipment, legal settlements, or revenue windfalls for recurring operating expenditures.
  • Inter-fund loans:  The City will not use inter-fund loans to solve ongoing structural budget problems

City Manager John Caulfield praised the news of the Auditor’s Office’s case study, as well as the work of all City of Lakewood departments to address its collective financial issues.

“We’re righting the ship,” he said. “The State Auditor’s Office thinks so highly of the steps we have taken that it’s using them as a model for what other local governments can do. As the City Manager, I’m extremely pleased with the work of our Finance Division and the leadership from our City Council and Executive Leadership Team.”

“Obviously, we still have some ways to go before we’re where we’d like to be," he added. "However, I have no doubt that we will get there. Our citizens should know that their City is heading down the right path financially.”

2015 Comprehensive Plan Amendments

The City of Lakewood will be accepting applications for privately initiated amendments to the City’s Comprehensive Plan through Friday, March 13, 2015.  Application forms, which include a list of the information that must accompany the application, are available at the Lakewood Community & Economic Development Department, 6000 Main St. SW, 2nd floor, Lakewood, Wash.  A minimum fee of $1,080 must accompany applications at the time of submittal.

Applications are subject to environmental review under established criteria and the State Environmental Policy Act.  The Lakewood Planning Commission will review the applications, and will take public testimony at a date to be set. All amendments are subject to final approval and adoption by the Lakewood City Council.

For additional information, contact Dan Catron, Long Range Planning Manager, at (253) 512-2261 or e-mail .

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