Washougal Community Center improvements are part of 2014 budget

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Improvements are needed in the Washougal Community Center kitchen, in order for that facility to continue preparing food for the Meals on Wheels program.

The 2014 preliminary city budget includes $50,000 for kitchen upgrades.

“The entire kitchen, except the commercial dishwasher, is out of compliance with health department codes,” said Washougal Parks, Cemetery and Facilities Manager Suzanne Grover.

Instead of having 1.5 sinks, there needs to be three. The code also calls for a range with an approved hood instead of two residential ranges, and a commercial cold storage system instead of residential-type refrigerators.

Meals on wheels is expected to pay $75,000 toward the upgrades.

The budget has $160,000 for the reroofing of the community center and moving the HVAC units from the roof to the ground.

The preliminary budget also includes:

• $650,000 for property acquisition and park development

• $400,000 (rolled over from 2012) for acquisition of overflow parking for the Sandy Swimming Hole addition, development of parking and a small playground

• $60,000 for City Hall/community center facade replacement

• $18,000 for fireworks to be displayed on the Fourth of July (funding from hotel and motel taxes)

• $1,000 in training funds for each of the seven city council members

• $15,000 for tuition reimbursement program for city employees

• $50,000 for the Camas-Washougal Economic Development Association

• $5,000 for the Columbia River Economic Development Council

• $7,500 for East County Social Services

• $5,000 for Washougal Community Education and Recreation

• $3,500 for Clark County Alcoholism Program

There is a proposed $1.74 million reserved ending fund balance. That equals 16 percent (two months) of expenditures.

The 2014 preliminary budget includes a one percent increase in the property tax levy. For the owner of a home with an assessed valuation of $240,000, that would mean an estimated $12 increase in city taxes, compared to this year.

Washougal town hall attracts pickleball players

The topic of pickleball predominated the Nov. 9 Washougal town hall meeting.

Sixteen players of the sport showed up in support of a $30,000 budget request from the Parks Board to pay for the repair of cracks at the Hathaway Park tennis courts.

Three pickleball courts and one tennis court would be painted.

“We might consider eliminating the one tennis court altogether in favor of three more pickle ball courts,” Grover said. “I have received no complaints from tennis players that the courts are being monopolized by pickleballers.

“If tennis is obsolete at this site, we might as well concede to the majority of the users who are very enthusiastic about their sport,” she added.

A mini-tournament Oct. 30, coordinated by Don Seekins and Karen Burnham, attracted 19 players to compete at Hathaway.

Approximately 25 people went to Los Dos Compadres for a celebration dinner afterwards.

Seekins said $400 was spent at the restaurant.

“Pickleball does bring money to the community,” he said.

Mike Wolfe was among the participants. He is hopeful larger tournaments could be held at Hathaway.

This year, 162 pickleball players participated in a tournament at Club Green Meadows, in Vancouver.

Proceeds from that tournament purchased 20 pickleball paddles, 24 balls and two portable net systems for Camas Christian Academy and an after-school program at Harney Elementary School, in Vancouver.

“Tournaments bring people who will spend money,” Wolfe said.

The Nov. 12 public hearing on the $34.3 million preliminary budget will be continued Monday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m., in the council chambers at City Hall, 1701 “C” St. A vote on the budget is expected to occur during the same meeting.