On the evening of Jan. 29, members of the Klickitat County Economic Development Authority (EDA) gathered in Goldendale to distribute the county's landfill revenue.
With only $250,000 to go around for the county's various communities this year, it was clear that not all the requests could be granted.
"There were about $400,000 in requests," noted Bingen Mayor Brian Prigel, one of the EDA board members.
Each year, the county has set aside a portion of its annual landfill revenues for community enhancement projects. The money comes from revenue other municipalities pay to ship their trash to the county's landfill in Roosevelt. The county takes in a guaranteed minimum of $6.2 million per year from the landfill.
For its part, the city of Bingen ended up with $20,000 toward its proposal to pave four blocks of Depot Street. That was $5,000 less than the city requested.
"I'm happy with that," Prigel said. "We were hoping we could get more, but there were a lot of requests from a limited pool of money."
Bingen's second priority -- $15,000 for security fencing at the Bingen recycling site -- received no funding. However, the county's Solid Waste Department is expected to upgrade the site on its own soon, providing new signs, a security camera, and probably fencing of the site as well.
In White Salmon, the city's top request -- help to keep the Community Youth Center open -- was granted to the tune of $20,000. The city had requested $21,500.
White Salmon's secondary request -- $28,000 for a four-wheel drive police car -- was not approved.
"I'm pleased with the money we got from the EDA," said White Salmon Mayor Linda Jones. "I'm disappointed we didn't get a police vehicle, it's something we really need. But I'm more than happy with what we got."
Jones added that she would meet with Linda Schneider, director of the Klickitat-Skamania Development Center, which oversees the Youth Center, to discuss what will happen with the Youth Center.
"We'll be eliminating a little portion of what her original request was," Jones explained. "We'll sit down with her and see what the best thing is to take out of that program. But I don't think we'll have to take out too much."
Trout Lake was granted $5,023 for pagers and a radio for firefighters.
Snowden had two requests, and only one won funding. The EDA board provided $15,000 for a four-wheel-drive emergency aid car, but did not provide requested funds for a four-wheel-drive pumper for the Fire Department.
"Most of the large ticket items got cut back," Prigel explained.
In Lyle, two requests earned funding: $15,000 for fire station improvements, and an additional $600 to repair a slide in its new playground.
The community of Glenwood won the single largest dollar amount: $23,800 to help with construction of a new fire hall.
"The list will now go to the County Commissioners for funding action," said Dana Peck, director of the Klickitat County Economic Development Department.
All three members of the Klickitat County Board of Commissioners serve on the EDA board.
County Commissioner Don Struck said he expected the board to OK the recommendations.
"There's only so much money to go around, so we try to fund at least a portion of everybody's top priority projects," Struck said.
Struck added that there could be some changes for next year.
"I'm thinking we should narrow it down to one project per community," Struck said. "That's going to be my recommendation. We'll determine the level of funding, divide that by the number of communities, and give everybody a heads-up that this is the target. There's hardly any reason to bring in two projects if both are for $20,000 and only one realistically will get funded."
Struck said the issue of how much landfill money the county sets aside to provide for the community enhancement projects also came up.
"Some are concerned that it should be a higher dollar figure," Struck said. "We should be taking that up at the next EDA meeting in March."
The county set aside $250,000 from its landfill revenues to spread among the communities for 2004. The figure was $300,000 last year, and $350,000 the year before that.
Mayor Prigel said the paving work on Bingen's Depot Street could start within a few months.
"It's weather-dependent, and to a lesser extent, money-dependent," Prigel explained. "When the weather breaks, I hope we have a plan ready to implement."
Prigel said the total cost of paving all four blocks of Depot Street would be approximately $50,000.
"Overall it went pretty well. I think it was fair," Prigel said. "Everybody got something."
In all, the EDA board provided funding for $249,995.71 of the allowed $250,000.
"We were $4 short; only $4.21 was left hanging," Prigel said.