The City Council continued their department-by-department review of the city budget Monday night, focusing largely on the Public Works Department.
The bulk of the increase in city spending next year is for an upgrade of the city water treatment plant and water lines. The city will spend $6 million this year for the upgrades.
The increased expenses will be passed on to the city’s water customers, including Anacortes residents, the Navy, La Conner, Oak Harbor, the Swinomish Tribe and the two March Point refineries.
Over the next 20 years, the city plans to spend $36 million for the upgrade.
While the city is increasing spending on water treatment, the city is planning cuts in road improvements. Plans to pave Pennsylvania Avenue will be put off. The budget includes $100,000 for land acquisition for the West end street, but paving will be put off for another year.
Mayor Dean Maxwell told the Council “Revenue is down and we can only take on only one major project next year.” He added “The reality is that we’re not going to be able to take on as many projects as we have in past years.”
The City Council Monday also approved a $99,000 contract to put radio tags in the library’s books, CDs and DVDs. Library director Cynthia Harrison told the Council the project will allow patrons to check out materials on their own and that will allow library staff to provide better customer service.