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Bingen Council Considers Landfill Fund Priorities

Bingen begins process of deciding what to ask for with funding.

With the county's deadline fast approaching, the Bingen City Council has begun the process of deciding its priorities for funding in 2002.

Every year, the Klickitat County Economic Development Authority (EDA) distributes a set amount of dollars to communities around the county to share revenue from the regional landfill at Roosevelt. That figure has ranged from $350,000 to as high as $500,000 last year.

"We're anticipating a budget of $350,000 this year," said Tom Seifert of the Klickitat County Resource Development Department.

In the fall, each community is allowed to specify two projects for consideration, with the county's acceptance or rejection of the proposals coming early the following year.

The deadline to submit a list of projects is Dec. 10.

"The communities need to tell us what their No. 1 and No. 2 priorities are," Seifert explained.

"The projects are usually in the range of $15,000 to $30,000 each," said Mayor Brian Prigel at the City Council's Nov. 5 meeting.

Prigel added that traditionally, Bingen has asked for help with only one project.

"Communities that ask for too much don't fare very well," he explained.

Last year, for example, Bingen requested $30,000 for help paying for design of the new fire hall. The county provided the money. Other projects funded in past years include help paying for the city's new water reservoir and planning for the city's downtown revitalization project.

This year, council members and the mayor offered several funding possibilities for submittal to the county's EDA. Ideas include:

Help with building the new fire station;

Help with the purchase of a new fire truck;

Help for undergrounding utility wires in the downtown area;

Funds to pay for a playground set and revitalization of Daubenspeck Park; and

Incidentals, such as artwork and outdoor furniture related to downtown revitalization.

Prigel said he was hesitant to ask for more funds for projects related to the new fire hall because that was the focus of last year's request. Traditionally, however, such requests have been endorsed by the EDA, because they enhance public safety.

The council will finalize its priorities at the next meeting, which will be held on Nov. 20.

The EDA team finalizes the selection of the various projects in January, and passes them on to the Klickitat County Commissioners for approval in February. The funds usually become available in March.

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