The Dalles City Council has set its top five goals for 2014, which will serve as a work plan for staffers to accomplish as time and resources allow.
The top priorities for Goal 1, which deals with infrastructure, are:
• Continue environmental work for increasing the capacity of Crow Creek Dam and replacing the Dog River water line that is made of wood and more than 100 years old.
• Develop a plan to increase safety at the intersection of East 10th Street, Thompson Road and Old Dufur Road.
“You have streets coming together at angles that are ridiculous,” said Councilor Bill Dick. This project was contested by citizen Russ Brown who said there had not been an accident at the intersection since 1996 and no one was injured in that wreck.
• Pursue West Sixth Street improvements, including widening the roadway from Hostetler Street to Snipes Street to allow for a turn lane and future signalization.
• Obtain funding to update the Transportation Plan and its associated projects, such as prioritization of the needs at all intersections.
• Complete a bicycle master plan update. Mayor Steve Lawrence pushed to have this included, saying there was tremendous economic development potential in the city hosting cycling events and providing two-wheeled lanes of travel.
Dick felt, as part of this goal, that the city should work toward having utilities undergrounded, which would cut down on maintenance and be more aesthetically pleasing.
Goal 2 involves partnership with other governmental agencies and nonprofit groups to better coordinate services and open communication. Toward that end the council will:
• Work with Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area stakeholders to obtain balance regarding issues of economic vitality and scenic preservation as defined by applicable law.
• Support the library foundation’s fundraising efforts for an expansion project.
• Prepare an updated analysis for downtown flood mitigation.
• Participate in efforts to continue YouthThink programs beyond their current budget cycle.
Councilor Tim McGlothlin said it was important for the city to support programs that encouraged children and teenagers to develop healthy lifestyles and stay away from drugs and alcohol.
• Support Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue efforts to improve the community’s insurance rating.
Promoting economic development opportunities to provide more job growth is Goal 3 and city officials want to enhance livability by:
• Continuing urban renewal projects downtown, including redevelopment of the Granada block, engineering and architectural design for the Civic Auditorium, installation of a fountain at the Lewis and Clark Festival Area, and construction of the Washington Street undercrossing that connects downtown to the waterfront.
• Work with the Port of The Dalles to develop infrastructure that will draw companies to industrial properties.
• Complete a market analysis action plan.
• Identify opportunities to support the port’s efforts to develop a regional wetlands permit that will make siting of a company less cumbersome as far as regulations.
• Proceed with golf course development at the airport.
• Develop organization structure and consider stable funding for the Main Street program.
• Continue to work in cooperation with other partners to get housing established on the vacant upper floors of downtown businesses.
Maintaining a balanced budget is Goal 4 so the city can sustain operations and make capital improvements. Officials also want to ensure there is an adequate contingency fund in place to take care of emergencies.
Their sole top priority in the upcoming year is to pursue funding options, such as grants, for street projects. The city is responsible for 88 miles of roadways in and around town and about 60 percent of these are in poor or very poor condition.
Nolan Young, city manager, has informed the council that he will present them with a recommendation for some type of taxing or fee proposal to pay for these improvements in the near future.
Goal 5 is encouraging civic responsibility and promoting public safety through programs, plans and policies. Toward that end the council intends:
• To work with the Sign Ordinance Committee to review and update the code regarding posting of advertisements for real estate, garage sales, etc.
• To find ways to further strengthen support for community happenings and special events.
“We need to coordinate activities,” said Councilor Linda Miller.
Given a lesser priority is developing a policy for planting of street trees and encouraging more landscaping on industrial properties viewed by motorists from Interstate 84.
“I would like to encourage tree plantings that are 20 feet high along the freeway,” said Councilor Carolyn Wood.
The council also wants to replace worn out or outdated Christmas decorations for the downtown blocks and continue adding lighting.
Spatz pushed for improvements in lighting for 2013 with the contention that more visitors and residents are drawn to the downtown blocks by the holiday ambiance.
“I’m a real believer that perception is everything,” he said. “I’ve heard more comments from people that’s one of the best things that’s been done.”
Goal 6 was eliminated because the council felt communication with citizens had improved by having the recordings of meetings posted on the city’s website, along with the complete packet of information provided to the elected body. No new projects were proposed for the upcoming year.