Flathead County Coverage

Aug 5, 2013 7:08 PM by Tara Oster - KAJ News

Kalispell is running out of cash

KALISPELL - Day by day, some Kalispell city programs are closer to running out of cash. That leaves the city with few options, either raise taxes or cut services. If something isn't done, some important city programs could run out of money as soon as 2015.

Changes in several assessments could increase your property taxes. At Monday's meeting, city council will discuss raising the assessments for lighting, street, and urban forestry maintenance.

Urban forestry needs to raise assessment fees to deal with Dutch elm disease and the 150 infected trees that still need to be removed - which is estimated to take 5 years.

"We feel that we don't want to remove them until it's absolutely necessary. Until they're looking to be totally stripped of vegetation and they're starting to present themselves as a hazard," said Mike Baker, Director of Parks and Rec, Urban Forestry.

The city's light maintenance assessment hasn't been raised in 10 years despite rising operation and maintenance costs. The light and street assessment increases would happen gradually until 2018.

Also on the agenda for council, approval of a utility agreement to relocate water and sewer lines in the Three Mile Drive area for that portion of the 93 bypass. The city is responsible for $67,740 to relocate the lines.

Finally council will recommend approving an $82,000 contract for a new bike and pedestrian bath on Highway 93 North from Meridian to Sunny View Lane.

"The reason why this is such a small segment is because this is the last year of the Community Enhancement Transportation Program," said Baker.

For the past 20 years, Kalispell has received more than a $1.5 million of federal money to fund projects like this.

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