Bridgeport considers sales tax increase for November General Election Ballot

BRIDGEPORT – A proposal to direct Bridgeport City Attorney Julie Norton to draft a resolution to put a city sales tax increase on the November General Election Ballot won unanimous support by the city council at its regular monthly meeting last Wednesday, June 15. The completed resolution, which will be presented at the July council meeting, calls for a .3 percent increase that will raise the existing rate of 7.7 percent to 8 percent. The deadline to make the November ballot is August 2.

City clerk/treasurer Judy Brown explained to the council the complex formula that results in the city keeping less than 1 percent of its sales tax after the county’s share and other fees are backed out. The funds generated by the increase would be specifically earmarked to purchase a replacement fire truck for the city when that becomes necessary.

Council member Matthew Schuh pointed out that even with a .3 percent increase, Bridgeport’s sales tax is still lower than all cities in neighboring Okanogan County (8.4 percent) and in Douglas County only higher than Mansfield (7.9 percent) and part the county’s unincorporated north end (7.9 percent). Schuh further proposed that the tax increase be in effect for 10 years and evaluated for possible renewal by the city at the end of that period.

Dollar General departs

In other business, Dollar General Corporation that was pursuing plans to locate one of its variety stores in the city, advised city officials earlier this month that it is now abandoning those plans. Public Works Superintendent Stuart Dezellem said the only explanation he was given for Dollar’s actions was that the decision came from sources “higher up.”

The council approved resolutions related to a Local Government Investment Pool, the city’s six-year State Transportation Improvement Plan, and a payment authorization policy. Also approved was a Douglas County Transportation Land Services Agreement.

POW Contracting in Pasco was awarded the Columbia Avenue water main replacement project. Dezellem said the project will be completed this year.

Work on both the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) and the second reservoir are going forward though Dezellem said the latter is suffering from supply chain issues. Right now, the reservoir foundation is being delayed while POW, the contractor, tries to locate two short pieces of 12” specialized pipe that must go under the foundation first.

“They had two pieces located on the coast,” said Dezellem. “POW had their name put on them but when they went to get them, they were gone.”

Dezellem said the situation is desperate enough that he will use his own truck and trailer to pick up the needed pieces of pipe once they are found. In the meantime, a second reservoir contractor is on hold until the foundation is ready.

Another problem the city is facing is the delay in getting the specialized control panels needed for the WWTP.

“We’re getting potentially 2023 dates,” Dezellem said of expected delivery times.

Mayor Conklin said she is composing a letter to the Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce commending it for the successful Bridgeport Daze it organized for the first weekend of June.

The annual Hooked on Kids Fishing Derby was not held this year but Conklin said she hopes to hold one again in 2023

 

Dollar General pulls out

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