Parks-related projects within the city of Puyallup will see a boost in funding, according to the 2018 City Manager’s Recommended Budget.
That includes projects such as the future Van Lierop Park, Riverwalk Trail property acquisitions and improvements to fields at the Puyallup Recreation Center.
“(Parks projects) have been a fairly large focus of the Council this year,” finance director Cliff Craig said.
The 2018 total budget comes in at $146.6 million, or about $94.4 million at total net budget, which is $9.5 million more than 2017 adopted budget.
The budget allocates $2 million to the creation of Van Lierop Park Phase 1, which includes the stabilization of the park property and construction of the daffodil vista and a trail connector, to be named after Puyallup trial advocate Ernie Bay.
At a Oct. 17 budget study session, City Council agreed that moving forward on a $2.5 million Phase 1 of Van Lierop Park project would save the city money in the long run. A $500,000 grant is already secured by the city.
Another $2 million was allocated to the Recreation Center improvements and $1 million to Riverwalk Trail land acquisitions.
Puyallup residents have spoken about the need for improved fields — especially the need for turf fields — at the Puyallup Recreation Center at previous Council meetings.
“I have two kids who play soccer; we’re a soccer family. I think it would be a very positive thing for the city of Puyallup,” Puyallup resident Rod Gratzer said at the Nov. 14 Council meeting.
Streets are a big focus of the budget, too, including the continued work of widening 39th Ave. SW and the replacement of Milwaukee Bridge at Milwaukee Ave. NE and 5th Street NE.
The budget also proposes increases the general fund by $202,200 for two new Puyallup police officer positions including training, equipment and uniforms, and $110,000 of reserves for two new police patrol vehicles, under the condition that a staffing survey be performed with the department.
The city also reduced its debt in 2017, ending the year with $39 million, about $9 million less than 2016. Debt is expected to decrease another $8 million by the end of 2018. The city started with $86 million in debt at the end of 2010, when city officials implemented a budget stability policy which organizes expenditures into three tiers
Tier 1 includes the Puyallup Police Department, street maintenance, Parks and Recreation, and other “every day” expenditures by the city.
“We want to be able to do these all the time,” Craig said.
Tier 2 consists of operating capital — for example, the routine replacement of computers, cars and other needs. And Tier 3, added Craig, is everything else — from general fund reserves to paying off debt.
The method has proved successful for Puyallup, allocating an extra $2 to $3 million every year to paying off debt.
“This has been the best budget that I’ve experienced in the city of Puyallup,” Craig said. “This really puts us in a more secure spot.”
The budget was adopted by the City Council with the second reading of an ordinance at the Nov. 28 Council meeting.