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Convention center redo drives high city budget

Spending plan near $75 million
By R.J. Marx

The Daily Astorian

Published on July 10, 2017 12:01AM

Last changed on July 10, 2017 10:21AM

A $15 million renovation of the Seaside Civic and Convention Center could begin in March.

Don Frank/Submitted Photo

A $15 million renovation of the Seaside Civic and Convention Center could begin in March.

Russ Vandenberg

Russ Vandenberg

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Boosted by $30 million in transfers for upgrades to the Seaside Civic and Convention Center, the Seaside City Council on Monday, June 26, approved a budget inching near $75 million.

This fiscal year’s total, by comparison, stood at $41.4 million. City Manager Mark Winstanley said the new budget is the highest he has seen in 32 years.

Bonds for the convention center renovation will be sold for $15 million, then transferred to construction funds.

Capital improvements, designed to accommodate larger groups, will add about 10,000 square feet to the 62,000-square-foot convention center. To pay for the renovation, city councilors raised the lodging tax from 8 percent to 10 percent in November. The additional tourist revenue will be used to repay construction bonds over a 20- to 30-year period. The $15 million renovation is planned to begin March 2018,

New firefighter, health increases

The new budget is for the fiscal year that begins in July.

The city’s general fund, which covers the mayor, council, city attorney, business office, library and community center, experienced a bump from $5.8 million to $6.4 million, Winstanley said.

The city budget lists 30 funds overall, among them, public works, the downtown maintenance district and public safety, with a budget of $5.7 million. Comprised of fire, police, lifeguards and Municipal Court, this year’s public safety fund stood at $4.3 million.

Marijuana taxes, included for the first time as a public safety budget line, are expected to reach $15,000. Liquor taxes are budgeted at more than $100,000 in revenue.

Health, medical and dental costs are going up across the board. The police department will see a rise of 13 percent, with retirement costs escalating about 8 percent. Similar numbers are seen in other departments.

While Seaside does not participate in the state’s Public Employees Retirement System, the city’s two employee retirement plans are also facing rising costs, Winstanley added.

Holding the line

Councilors Dana Phillips, Steve Wright, Seth Morrisey and Randy Frank, along with Mayor Jay Barber, voted to approve the budget. Councilors Tom Horning and Tita Montero were absent.

“It really holds the line in terms of our expenditures,” Barber said after the meeting. “I know the budget committee was trying to hold steady rather than to make any big jumps. Overall, it’s a very moderate budget and I think it speaks well of the council and particularly our city manager.”

Following the budget vote, councilors also approved a bid process for a construction manager-general contractor for the convention center construction project.


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