This little finger of land now zoned parkland looks to have been provided to facilitate access to the trail for people on the other side of George Washington Way. The city is rezoning it and the rest of the area marked in red for development.

Update on taxes: see item 8 and 9.

If the Richland City Council votes yes on the last step to approve the switcheroo of parkland to developable riverfront zoning at their Tuesday, Oct. 19 meeting a public access point from the west side of George Washington Way to the riverfront trail will be eliminated.

On the drawings the city staff provided to the council that little finger of land from the river to Bradley Blvd. provides access to the riverfront trail from Comstock Street. It lies between the Riverfront Hotel and the land already zoned for development on Bradley Blvd.

A final vote on the switcheroo will take place at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday night.  The public has two minutes to comment on anything they want. Here’s the agenda with the information at the top on how to do that.

If you don’t want to call in to give a comment, you can always email one to the council at this address:  For individual councilmembers just substitute the first initial and last name for the “citycouncil,” rlukson, bthompson, skent, etc.

A list of surplus items, including vehicles will be approved for sale. See the list on pg.1298.

As usual, the page numbers after the items below correspond to the pages in the packet.

1.Girl Scouts of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho will lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

2. Proclamation Recognizing Extra Mile Day to celebrate those in the community who “go the extra mile in order to make a difference.”

3. Tri-Cities Regional Hotel-Motel Commission Annual Budget and Marketing Plan pitch to keep the money flowing. Richland will contribute $692,608 to the cause in 2022.

Public Hearings

4. Proposed 2022 revenue sources including property tax. This is two ordinances. The Observer cannot figure out what they are doing with property taxes. The agenda comes out on Friday afternoon when there’s no time to get answers. Hopefully, I can update this on Monday. Pg. 49-55

5. Approving amendments to the 2021 budget. According to the city, “The increases are primarily the result of additional expenditures in the General Fund, Hotel/Motel Tax Fund, Special Lodging Assessment Fund, Solid Waste Utility Fund and Public Works Admin & Engineering Fund. In some instances, it is necessary for the City to declare that a public emergency exists in certain funds, as required by state law, because certain expenses were not originally anticipated when the 2021 Budget was adopted. New revenues support $445,000 of the increase. The remaining $1,526,493 is funded by use of existing fund balances.” 

6. If you need a used vehicle, here’s the place to look. The city is selling surplus. The items are listed on these pages. Pg. 1298-1303.

Public Comments – Your chance to say 2-minute’s worth

Consent Calendar (no discussion, one vote)

7. Approval of the minutes from the Oct.5 meeting, pg. 42-48

8. Here’s where the council votes on the revenue sources including property tax that had a hearing. See Item 4, pg. 49-55. WAITING FOR AN EXPLANATION — Here it is: Interim City Manager Jon Amundson responded to my question about the real estate tax item on the agenda: Brandon Allen, Finance Director, will be giving a presentation tomorrow night that should assist.

9. This is the vote on the second part of the revenue sources including property tax that had a hearing. See Item 4, pg. 49-55. WAITING FOR AN EXPLANATION — Here it is: Interim City Manager Jon Amundson responded to my question about the real estate tax item on the agenda: Brandon Allen, Finance Director, will be giving a presentation tomorrow night that should assist.

10. Approving amendments to the 2021 budget. See item 5 above.

11. Approving the Links Residence at Horn Rapids. There are over 1000 pages in the packet that will tell you everything you need to know. Briefly, some home owners felt they had paid more for a golf course view that was being blocked.  Pg. 60-1089.

12. Selling bonds to support electric infrastructure. According to city staff, “Approximately $7 million in bond proceeds are needed to support the capital plan for 2022 and 2023, in addition to rate financing and developer contributions. Bonds would be issued for a term not longer than 25 years to mirror the expected life of the electric infrastructure being financed considering the market conditions and investor appetite for terms. At current rates, the par value of the bonds selling at a premium would be approximately $6.4 million.” Pg. 1090-1133

13. Amending the ordinance regarding bonds for officers and employees. Pg. 1134-1137

14. The switcheroo. Public access from Comstock to the riverfront trail is jettisoned when parkland becomes developable waterfront zoning. Pg. 1138-1142

15. U.S. Cellular  has requested that City Council grant it a non-exclusive telecommunications franchise for small wireless facilities and other related facilities. Pg. 1143-1189

16. Restating and affirming prior actions for employee retirement health savings 1190-1199

17. Richland’s Clean Energy Plan  Pg.1200-1297

18.. Buy a used vehicle here. List of surplus items. Pg. 1298-1303

19. This amends the consultant agreement with RLR Cultural Resources LLC to add $13,000 more for the Columbia Park Trail East Improvements Project. Pg. 1304-1308.

20.. Authorizing the use of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) unds. The City expects to receive approximately $7,361,385 in ARPA funding with half already received in 2021 and the remaining in fiscal year 2022. ARPA funds are to be obligated by 2024.

Staff recommends as the highest priority that up to $1.5M be utilized for residential utility bill assistance and up to $500k for local businesses impacted by COVID-19. Similarly, staff recommends up to $1.6M for phase 1 broadband infrastructure backbone, up to $1.0M for phase 2 broadband infrastructure backbone, and up to $2.8M for sewer infrastructure supporting economic development in the North Richland Industrial Area (the 1341-acre Department of Energy Hanford land transfer area). Finally, as allowed, ARPA funds would also be utilized for COVID-19-related costs to the City. Pg. 1309-1311

21. The city will spend $53,000 for a comprehensive cybersecurity assessment of all City of Richland infrastructure and digital systems. Pg. 1312-1362.

22.Checks written in September. Pg. 1363-1464.

After the blah, blah, blah by the interim city manager and the councilmembers, there will be a secret, executive session, “To evaluate the qualifications of an applicant for public employment or to review the performance of a public employee (60 minutes).”  

I’m just guessing, it’s a SECRET meeting, but they may be fulfilling their promise to evaluate whether they want to take “interim” off Jon Amundson’s city manager title. After City Manager Cindy Reents left and Amundson was appointed to fill her position, the council promised to consider him for the city manager position at the end of the year.