Large Number of Projects Included In Centralia's 2018 Proposed Budget

Fire Chief's Position, Police Body Cams, Splash Pad and Fountain, More Demolition and Street Improvements Among the Proposed Projects

Money to re-establish the fire chief's position, a new splash pad and fountain at Fairview Park and money for continued building demolition are among the highlights of expenditures in the Centralia City Budget for next year.

Centralia City Manager Dan Ramey says with the appointment of a fire chief, money is being added for one new firefighter. The police department will get one new squad car and 20 body cameras.

The budget includes $175,000 to $200,000 for construction of a splash pad and fountain at Fairview Park.

The budget has $95,000 to tear down three substandard buildings in the 100 block of West Broadway. They are the Suggs Building on the north side of the street and The Venue and Batman Building on the south side. Mayor Tom Ashby expects 60 more substandard homes to be demolished with a $70,000 budget for residential demolition.

Permanent street projects include Pleasant Street from Martin Luther King to Rexford, Broadway from Lincoln to Pullen and Locust from McCord to 3rd Street. Ramey says Frazier Street from Lincoln to Pleasant could also be improved. Money is also included for 12 to 15 miles of oil and chipping of city streets and $40,000 to oil and chip roads around Raccoon Lake.

The budget has $29,000 for a 26 by 28-foot addition to the animal shelter.

The city will continue to support several events with money collected through the tourism tax. They include $6,500 for Celebrate Centralia, $2,500 apiece for the Locust Street Historical Festival and Balloon Fest, $2,000 apiece for Elmwood Speaks and the Fourth of July Parade and Flags and $1,000 for the Halloween Parade.

The Centralia Community Youth Center will see its funding go up $5,000 to $35,000 and Centralia Clean and Green will see a $5,000 increase to $25,000. $2,500 will go to the Image Committee which is currently working on branding for the city. $48,000 is set aside for facade grants through the tax increment financing districts.

The total city budget, if approved by the city council on Monday night, will total $28,712,474. That's a reduction of $8.8-million from seven years ago. That includes a reduction in debt from more than $11-million in 2009 to an estimated $3,865,512 at the end of Fiscal Year 2018.