Public Works budget approved

The Ashland Citizens' Budget Committee gave unanimous tentative approval for an $8.9 million city-wide infrastructure maintenance and improvement program for the coming fiscal year.

The city has enough money to pay for the work, known as the capital improvement program. But in following years, the city has not identified enough funding sources to pay for planned infrastructure projects, Public Works Director Paula Brown warned budget committee members Wednesday night.

The city is setting up a street financing task force to look at options for funding needed street work, she said.

After increasing 6 percent this fiscal year, water and sewage rates will not rise in the coming fiscal year that begins in July. Rates will likely need to be increased in the following year, Brown said.

Ashland must deal with tightening Oregon Department of Environmental Quality temperature regulations on treated sewage effluent the city releases into Bear Creek. Warm water can be harmful to fish.

Brown said the city is looking at environmentally friendly alternatives to cooling the effluent in a facility &

an expensive and energy-intensive option.

Also Wednesday night, the budget committee gave unanimous tentative approval for a $23.9 million Public Works Department budget for the coming year.

That is down from the current year's budget of $26.4 million.

The overall proposed city budget for the coming fiscal year is $91.1 million, compared to $100.6 million this year.

In the next few weeks, the budget committee will prioritize requests for additional spending from city departments and decide whether to approve any of those requests.

Staff writer can be reached at 479-8199 or

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