City adopts new fiscal year budget

Written by Kelly Black / For The Observer June 28, 2013 10:29 am

New budget includes funds for new fire truck 

The Union City Council unanimously adopted a $2.8 million budget Monday for the new fiscal year that includes a residential $10 monthly emergency services user fee.

Residents will see a 50-percent increase in the monthly emergency services user fee on their water bill. The user fee was increased to offset declining ambulance service revenue, which has funded both the fire and ambulance services. The resident user fee will garner about $115,000, while ambulance revenue is projected to be $60,000.

The increase in revenue will allow the city to invest in new equipment for the fire department, including five self-contained breathing apparatuses and a 2011 Pierce Freightliner Pumper truck. 

The city signed a 10-year lease on the 2011 pumper truck, which has foam capacity, and will pay $26,000 a year with an optional buyout. The truck was used for demonstrations and currently is at the factory being specially fitted before its arrival in Union.

“Homeowners insurance prefers foam be used because it does less damage to a house,” said Sandra Patterson, city administrator.

The new truck will allow the city to retire a 40-year-old truck. The city’s 1989 Pierce Dash Pumper truck will serve as backup. 

“This truck upgrades us in our ability to fight fires,” said Mayor Bill Lindsley.

Due to a mutual aid agreement with the Union Rural Fire Protection District, the new pumper truck will respond to calls both in the city limits as well as rural calls.

The city plans to invest $190,000 in street improvements — 90 percent of that work will be chip sealing — but is struggling to find a contractor to do the work.

“There is only one person in the county who can give me a bid right now,” Patterson said. “Right now, he is up in Wallowa County doing a big project. We’re just praying he can squeeze us in this year.”

There is a large carry over in the budget from last year because there was not a contractor available to do the chip sealing work.

The city has a network of streets totaling nearly 20 miles of which approximately 80 percent are paved. In 2012, the city conducted a street condition inventory that rated primary and secondary streets, with 27 percent of the primary streets rated “good,” 63 percent “fair” and 10 percent “poor.” 

Chip sealing can extend the life expectancy of streets with “good” or “fair” pavement by four to six years. A double-layer chip seal can last for eight to 10 years.