Thursday, March 6, 2008

Capital Improvement Investment in Vancouver

There is much press about the City's investment of money and resources in downtown Vancouver. While the revitalization of the 'heart' of our city is important for the entirety of Vancouver, the reality is that the city spends more resources on the east side of our city. Those projects simply don't get the attention that downtown seems to receive.

The City of Vancouver made significant investments in capital infrastructure between 2002 and 2007. This report is a summary of the 2002-2007 capital projects separated into East and West using Andresen Street as a dividing line.

The total investment in capital projects from 2002-2007 is approximately $243.3 million. Of this total, $158.3 million was spent on the East side and $85.0 million was spent on the West side.

The City’s capital expenditures generally fall into the following four major project types:

  • Transportation
  • Public Works
  • Parks
  • General Governmental

Each type is explained in more detail below.

Capital projects in Transportation include planning, development and construction of infrastructure such as roads, bridges, traffic signals, street lights, bike lanes and pedestrian walkways. The total investment in Transportation from 2002-2007 was $122.5 million, including state, federal grants and other external sources of funding.

The split here is $80.9 million or 66% for projects in East Vancouver and $41.6 million or 34% for projects in West Vancouver.

Major East side transportation projects:
SE 192nd Avenue from SE 1st to SR 14 Interchange $27.7 million
Burton Road Corridor from 86th Avenue to 112th Avenue $9.8 million
NE 138th Avenue from 18th Street to 28th Street $8.6 million
NE 28th Street – 112th Avenue to 142nd Avenue $5.2 million

Major West side transportation projects:
Confluences Land Bridge (Federal, state, private funding) $11.2 million
Fruit Valley Road Corridor $7.1 million
Various Fourth Plain Projects $3.8 million
6th Street Traffic and Pedestrian Improvement $2.5 million
NW 26th Street Bypass Planning Study $2.0 million

Public Works
Capital projects in Public Works include comprehensive planning, engineering design, and project management of various infrastructure and facilities in the water, wastewater, and surface water management areas. The total investment in Public Works from 2002-2007 was $48.2 million, with $31.9 million or 66% for projects in East Vancouver and $16.3 million or 34% for projects in West Vancouver.

Major East side public works projects:
Burnt Bridge Creek Regional Wetland Bank and
Greenway Trails – East $5.8 million
Land Acquisition for Public Works East Operations Center $4.8 million

Major West side public works projects:
Burnt Bridge Creek Regional Wetland Bank and
Greenway Trails – West $3.9 million
Pretreatment Lagoon Land $2.8 million

Capital projects in Parks include planning and development of the park system including neighborhood parks, community parks, and trails. Capital expenditures are also made for land acquisition and construction of community centers. Although Parks provides planning, acquisition, and development services for Clark County, only projects within the City limits are included in this report. The total investment in Parks from 2002-2007 was $50.9 million, with $35.7 million or 70% for projects in East Vancouver and $15.2 million or 30% for projects in West Vancouver.

Major East side parks projects:
Firstenburg Community Center $24.6 million
Haagen Community Park Phase II $1.9 million Fisher Basin Park $1.1 million

Major West side parks projects:
Marshall/Luepke Community Center Remodel $9.7 million
Marshall Community Park $1.5 million
Property Acquisition in Park District 1 $1.5 million

General Governmental
Capital projects in General Governmental include major repairs of existing facilities and construction of new facilities for Public Safety and the Vancouver National Historic Reserve. The total investment in General Governmental from 2002-2007 was $21.7 million, with $9.7 million or 45% for projects in East Vancouver and $11.9 million or 55% for projects in West Vancouver.

Major East side general governmental projects:
East Police Precinct $8 million
Fire Station 87 on Andresen (1/2 of total investment) $1.45 million

Major West side general governmental projects:
Vancouver National Historic Reserve - West Barracks $4.6 million Fire Station 87 on Andresen (1/2 of total investment) $1.45 million


Chief Wahoo said...

There is no doubt that the City has invested money West of I-5 over the years; just not in the amounts that we are seeing suggested for projects like the former Boise Cascade site.

I would point out also that it took nine years to get East Precinct built, and that the development of the Evergreen Airport site is still stalled out.

My biggest problem with downtown development is where all of this local money is supposed to come from. I cannot support property tax increases, and sales tax revenues are already down throughout the entire State. Both Washingtons are showing TILT when anyone asks them for money so I don't expect any significant funds from either source for any project any time soon.

And let's keep in mind that City Council has already voted to unanimously approve 10 year tax exemptions for all of those property owners at the former Boise Cascade site; so any potential tax revenues will be postponed for at least a decade, and that is only IF all 2700 of those condominiums sell immediately. The longer it takes to sell those condos, the longer it will be before ANY tax revenues are generated there.

What is the City's plan if 50% of those condos at Boise remain unsold five years later?? What then??

This is not about us vs them Tim, it's about the money. I'm open to any reasonable and responsible sugestions about how to pay for all of this but I have heard neither lately.

Bob Koski

Anonymous said...

Ok, here is my question for you Tim..

With the East side getting its fair share of money to build up the rural and suburban roads up to the City of Vancouver standards (18th street, 49th street for several miles 28th street from 112th Avenue to 130 Avenue...) and getting a lot of other services that are basics within the community.

Now here is the question your going to have to face as Mayor or the next mayor will have to face.

The City has selected a huge chunk of land between Salmon Creek (the creek) and the current City Limits with in its current 20 year Urban Growth Boundary. With the amount of congestion that this area is going to produce on the freeways, and roads that are basically rural in standard set by Clark County.

Where are you going to find the Money to upgrade all of the roads in this huge square patch mile?

During the Comprehensive Planning effort that the county and city had a tussle over and it seems for the current moment things are ok, there are going to be a huge amount of money needed to fund the road expansions, maintenance and many other things that the City to the south enjoys.

Even there is still a possible lawsuit(s) be several environmental groups that might put cause problems into the future to keep the city from densifying this area which has a huge amount of wetlands and spoils that probably can't support an urban style of a city on.

So please tell me where your going to get the resources and efforts?

I know you have experience as a local manager of firm that handles this type of thing. But I'm not seeing from you or any of our elected officials at the City how they are going to handle the same questions that are being raised at the County level over the past 3 years.

Tim Leavitt said...

Good to hear from you Bob.
Always enjoy getting your perspective...

Yes...Boise is a big investment...with a big payoff if it all comes together....of course, that's the risk.
East Precinct and Firstenburg Community Center took way too long.

I think predecessors (and some current) councilmembers may have led folks in East city to think that with annexation, those improvements would happen sooner.
Some will argue, however, that it was the former Boundary Review Board that required the City to annex a much larger area of east Vancouver than the City wanted...thus taking on too much responsibility.

Not sure where the money is going to come from either...or if it is going to come at all!
I'm not aware of an alternative that includes property tax. The remaining tools I am aware of that Council has at disposal are the Business & Occupation Tax, the motor vehicle license fee ($20 by council, more voted on by public), and I believe a Local Improvement District (LID) could also be created...assessing additional property tax to those properties inside the LID.

Don't recall voting on allowing 10-year tax abatement for property owners on Boise. If we had (or did) vote on it, I'm certain it wouldn't have been unanimous. Jeanne Stewart has voted NO on that funding mechanism on previous projects...and several of us have previously expressed our reservation at doing it anymore.

We're a long-way from figuring this one out...


Tim Leavitt said...

Dear Anonymous --

You're absolutely correct!

The City of Vancouver shouldn't be annexing unincorporated VUGA until it is prepared financially to handle County-developed area.

The City presently doesn't have the resources to finance it's current transportation needs. I have yet to see any hard evidence that gaining any more area will 'create' those resources.

The City (City Council and Community) need to figure out a sustainable infrastructure improvement program. There are a few funding tools remaining and available to generate more revenue...including voter-approved LID (local improvement district), voter-approved levy lid lift, and the B&O (business and occupation tax). These are presently our options, unless the legislature enacts some changes (like tax increment financing, which some 48 other states have), or street utility tax.

The annexation blueprint that the City and County have agreed upon identifies the Hazel Dell/Salmon Creek area of the VUGA as the last area to pursue for annexation into the City...with a timeframe of some 10-15 years out (if I remember correctly). Maybe by then we'll have some answers for financing city services that will better accommodate annexation of that area...if they don't incorporate themselves. In any event, the City must make a case to the citizens of Hazel Dell that it is in their best interest to become part of the City of Vancouver!