Mayor Mike's Update

 

State of the City Report - 2016

INTRODUCTION
The State of the City Report is an annual report on activities carried out by the Goldendale City Council and City Staff, and recommendations of the four City Council Committees. Its aim is to inform residents of Goldendale of city government decisions and actions that impact their community. This report includes information on Council directed activities (i.e., public safety, economic development, tourism, code enforcement, etc.) and specific activities carried out by City Departments. This report is an effort to provide greater transparency, promoting active discussion and interaction between the citizens of Goldendale and their local government.
The state of the city of Goldendale continues to be very good with the 2017 budget balanced and adopted by the City Council. The focus for 2017 will be:

  • collaboration to reduce drug related crime in our city, 
  • prudent management of city resources with the aim of staying within the adopted budget,
  • continuing a concerted effort to achieve greater savings in energy costs, and
  • strengthening public safety, and
  • retain, enhance and promote economic development, including tourism

As Mayor, I continue to be impressed and appreciative of the experience, dedication and professionalism of our City Staff as they strive to serve Goldendale residents.


POLICE DEPARTMENT
The Goldendale Police Department (GPD) located at 1505 South Grant and presently consists of 9 officers: including Chief Reggie Bartkowski, two Sergeants, six officers, one of which is a canine officer and two that are still in training. Additional support personnel include, an Administrative Assistant, two Reserve Officers, an Animal Control Officer (part-time), and Police Dog "Harley". Funding for the ninth officer was a key element of the 2017 budget and will help fight drug related crime and strengthen public safety. Goldendale and its Police Department are up against rising drug related crime driven by increased heroin and meth addiction. Increased use of recently State legalized recreational marijuana has increased State-wide statistics for accidents related to driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana. The small police force often must work longer shifts under high pressure conditions. This situation is challenging for our officers and public safety.
In 2016 the GPD Community Watch Program (CWP) was introduced. The program has been well received by the community and hundreds of extra eyes are assisting GPD by watching for criminal activities around neighborhoods. The citizens calling GPD to report suspicious or unusual behavior gives a Police Officer a legitimate reason to approach and question persons to determine whether illegal activities are taking place. Community support and cooperation regarding public safety has been strong and 2016 crime statistics indicate a downward trend.

Total Calls for Police Service 

Year Total Calls
2016 2786
2015 3096
2014 2878
2013 2902

Total Reported Crimes

Year  
2016 290
2015 322
2014 254
2013 300


Violent and Property Reported Crimes

Violent Crimes  
2016 12
2015 15
2014 6
2013 8

 

Property Crimes  
2016 105
2015 183
2014 194
2013 214


Violent Crime - Murder, Rape, Robbery, Aggravated Assault
Property Crimes - Arson, Burglary, Motor Vehicle Theft, Larceny (Theft)

 

Total Population and Commissioned Officers in 2016

  Officers Population
Goldendale Police 8 3,470
KC Sherriff's Office 20 14,356
COUNTY WIDE 33 20,861

 

GPD is carrying out an active police training program in-house and at site locations to prepare for situations such as an active shooter in a public school building. The determined message of GPD and City Council is that drug addicts, dealers and the criminal element are not welcome in Goldendale and will not be tolerated. Crime statistics have shown decreases in our community. This is seen as a result of the coordinated efforts by law enforcement (GPD, KC Sheriff's office and State Police) to drive the criminal element out county-wide and to provide public safety at every turn. Strong community support for law enforcement at all levels has sent a clear message that citizens have had enough.
Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer has introduced a program to cross deputize police officers and sheriff deputies to provide a much broader approach to law enforcement for small police departments and the larger Klickitat County Sherriff Department. Police pursuit no longer ends at city limits or even county borders. In addition, 2016 saw formation of a Sherriff's Posse of 100 commissioned volunteer members.

 

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The City continues to work actively with the Greater Goldendale Chamber of Commerce:

  • to promote economic development through strengthening local businesses;
  • to support related to energy development, especially the Pump Storage Project, and expanding wind energy projects;
  • reaching out to potential businesses interested in having a presence in Goldendale (see below for more information on a proposal to host a Nestle Water Bottling plant);
  • to develop a Business Round Table;
  • to restart the Airport Committee to bring fueling services and other improvements to the Goldendale Municipal Airport; 
  • promoting a stronger marketing effort to develop wine related tourism to bring additional visitors to Goldendale for longer stays; and  to expand the existing Tourism Committee.


Private development of a Performing Arts Center in Goldendale promises to stimulate local economic and cultural development. The Center will feature several large theaters, a dinner theater, lodging and expanded commercial retail development. The multimillion dollar project is currently seeking private funding. Ground breaking is expected in early 2017.
Goldendale is continuing its efforts to attract manufacturing and industrial development opportunities. An effort in 2016 to invite the international Nestle Water Bottling Company is being investigated at the request of City Council after a local business developer initiated contact with the company. Nestle has visited Goldendale in the past to explore spring water resources. The Nestle project would bring development of a multimillion dollar water bottling plant, approximately 50 living wage jobs and associated truck delivery activity. Environmental activists in the Northwest have strongly objected to the possibility of a Nestle plant in Goldendale. Investigation is continuing and a report is under preparation for City Council consideration.
City Council has encouraged City staff to advance code enforcement activities to improve the appearance of the City. The aim of the City is to make sure it is prepared for future development opportunities and to participate in key regional partnerships for economic development.
During 2016, Goldendale actively participated in the County-led development of an economic development strategy. Goldendale participates in the Klickitat County Public Economic Development Authority (KCPEDA) and maintains a working relationship with Mid-Columbia Economic Development District (MCEDD), a five County two-State organization dedicated to developing regional economic activity. A working relationship also exists with the Washington State Department of Commerce and Washington State Legislators.
In order to achieve stronger economic development, Goldendale continues to support local business expansion and recruitment, stronger job training efforts, greater town pride and a further focus on shopping locally. The City continues to actively support a multimillion dollar Washington Park Service project to substantially upgrade the Goldendale Observatory State Park to match its international importance as a leading West Coast observatory. The International Dark Skies Observatory Park is expected to draw thousands of visitors interested in astronomy.


TOURISM
For 2016 the City helped coordinate approximately 15 local festivals and tourism events in the Goldendale area that resulted in more than a thousand out of town tourists attending Goldendale events. City Council accepted the Tourism Committee recommendation to award $54,000 in tourism grant funds to support various community events and festivals, and the Visitor Information Center. Hotel and motel taxes collected each year are returned to the County for support of the following year's tourism activities. The funds also supported preparation of a coordinated web site for tourism. The hallmark of the upgraded web site is a colorful banner inviting travelers to "Experience Goldendale". Efforts were strengthened in 2016 to support and coordinate tourism promotion. Tourism activities planned for 2017 are listed below:


2017 Date Events Promoting Tourism

  • 04/28-30 Goldendale Home, Garden and Sportsman's Show
  • 5/20-21 Puget Sound Trialers
  • 06/02-04 Bluegrass Pickerfest
  • 06/04-06 Goldendale Tractor Pull
  • 06/17 Iron Man Race
  • 06/22-27 Festival of Speed
  • 07/04 Demolition Derby
  • 07/07- 09 Goldendale Community Days (Jaycees)
  • 07/08 Show and Shine (GMA)
  • 08/12-13 W. E. Rock Craw
  • 08/18-20 Festival of Wheels
  • 08/24-27 Klickitat County Fair
  • 09/01-03 Downhill Skaters
  • 10/07 Concourse de Maryhill
  • 12/09 Candy Lane Parade

 

PUBLIC WORKS
In order to provide needed infrastructure improvements for city streets, parks, water and sewage systems, the City of Goldendale works to leverage local dollars to carry out that work. Over the past 20 years, the City has managed to leverage 3 million dollars investment into 40 million dollars of infrastructure improvements. Thirty seven per cent of the $40 million dollars were grants that do not have to be repaid. Developer improvements to the system were over 6 million dollars. The major 2016 infrastructure project was the West Columbus Neighborhood Improvement Project.
Water: The Public Works Department completed the water reservoir project in 2016, which updated the telemetry system to improve control over the mountain springs. A new control valve was installed in 2016 at the watershed to automatically divert excess flow directly into the Pipeline springs drainage.
The 6-year Water System Plan Update for Goldendale will take place this year. The quantity of water used in 2016 was 1,230 acre feet. Goldendale has a municipal water right for 2,082 acre feet. The peak flow day in 2016 was 2.5 million gallons, or 1,725 gallons per minute (gpm). Goldendale water sources can produce 3.3 million gallons (or 2,300 gpm).
Jim Shaw springs and Emerson springs source renovation and water quality sampling was completed in 2016. Both sites are waiting for source approval from the Department of Health to add to the Goldendale mountain springs flow. This will reduce the demand on our well aquifers and reduce pumping costs. The water distribution system loss has been steadily increasing in 2016. It will be evaluated in 2017 for solutions to reduce the loss amount below 10% of the total source production. The Public Works Department has been working on improving the Goldendale spring sites to maximize our gravity sources and lower pumping costs. That project should be completed within the next year. These improvements will benefit our community and help to reduce operation costs.
Wastewater/Storm water: 3,500 feet of mainline was replaced during the West Columbus Neighborhood Improvement Project (WCNIP). Smoke testing of mainlines and water quality testing will take place in 2017 to improve water treatment and lower electrical costs for pumping storm water.
Regarding wastewater, the Little Klickitat River sewer project was completed in 2016 under an order from the Department of Ecology. The main purpose of this project was to lower the storm water and groundwater that enters the collection system, thus decreasing pumping and treatment costs.
Concerning storm water, the City's street improvements are coordinated with improved stormwater collection.
Streets: Goldendale has completed five miles of street reconstruction in the last 10 years and we have 29.6 miles of asphalt roadway within the City.
The West Columbus Neighborhood Improvement Project (WCNIP) was completed in 2016. South Columbus Avenue overlay is being planned for summer 2017. Columbus Avenue from Broadway Street to Simcoe Avenue will be ground and a 3" asphalt overlay will be applied to improve north and southbound lanes. Utility work is being scheduled at the same time to reduce the likelihood of trench patches after project completion.
Utility costs: Utility costs (power costs) are a large part of the Goldendale budget. Savings on utility costs benefit the City budget resulting in additional funds for further needed infrastructure improvements. Goldendale will be lowering our street light annual costs by as much as $40,000 per year through the LED lighting retrofit project. Additional savings achieved by Public Works Improvements in our spring collection system should result in over $10,000 per year in reduced pumping costs. The sewer collection system improvements will lower the pumping costs for the main lift station.
Infrastructure improvements in Goldendale are cutting costs and increasing the readiness of the City to experience greater economic development. While public works projects are costly, the progress and benefits being realized in improving infrastructure systems lower costs for their operation. This is essential for the successful operation of a city the size of Goldendale. Through the infrastructure improvement projects, Goldendale has a greater capacity for future growth.
Building / Code Enforcement: The City has strengthened its Code enforcement language and it has increased efforts to address the dilapidated housing stock. Added building valuation was almost 1.6 million dollars.

 

FIRE DEPARTMENT
There are 17 active firefighters at the Goldendale Fire Department (GFD). For a community the size of Goldendale, 25 fire fighters would be ideal. In 2016 our fire department responded to 120 fire calls including 69 EMS calls (ambulance). When major fires occur outside our County, fire departments loan equipment to the firefighting teams and receive substantial payment for equipment and staff helping to fight the fire. In recent years GFD has been able to send volunteers and equipment to help fight some of Washington's largest wild land fires. This brings very useful income to fire departments that help finance additional equipment. Multi-use equipment (such as a Fire Command Pickup that can also be used as a wild land fire truck) is an essential asset in a region known for fast moving wind driven wild fires and historic dryness.
At present GFD have the following fire engines: three type-one structure engines; three brush trucks; one ambulance; one portable air unit; one 1924 GMC fire engine (not used for calls); and one water tender under construction. In the next five years, the 1972 type-one structure engine must be replaced, and hoses and nozzles in general need to be updated. Projects in 2017 will include a 2000 gallon attack tender, fully equipped; hose and nozzle replacement ($15,000 per truck); and training classroom equipment. Fire equipment is incredibly costly and GFD continuously searches and applies for grants to help fund the costs. The Department is hoping to be able to get a newer and more reliable brush truck in addition to what is currently being used.
The Fire Department completed a particularly important goal for 2016 by achieving NFPA compliance. This achievement kept current fire insurance unchanged; every one that has fire insurance benefitted. The NFPA process is very detailed, and providing the mountain of information took a number of hours. This followed carrying out needed testing of equipment, and being able to purchase needed new equipment to comply with NFPA. The GFD performance goal for 2017 is to continue to provide the best firefighting service possible to the citizens of Goldendale and surrounding areas. The Goldendale firefighters, led by Fire Chief Noah Halm, carry out an aggressive training regimen and meet weekly. Additional volunteers are always needed and welcome.

CONCLUSION
This report on the state of the City would not be complete without looking at the process used by the City Council and City Staff to identify and work out a range of issues that are brought to the attention of the Council. Council Committees, at the direction of the City Council, continue to work on public safety improvements, including updating radar speed controls, improving pedestrian crosswalks, enforcing community ordinances, addressing budget matters, and carrying out public works projects. A full range of community events including wine festivals, community bike events, downhill racers, and Community Days (to name a few) are also supported by the Council.
The objective for 2017 will be to make steady progress in providing effective public safety for our residents by working together - citizens, law enforcement, city staff, and Council - to identify and address criminal activities; further efforts to bring living wage jobs back to Goldendale and to provide community social events year round that residents and tourists can enjoy.