City sees hardship and success in 2011

Published on Wed, Jan 4, 2012 by Gary Tomsic, Blaine city manager

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It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. That’s how best to describe this past year in Blaine city government. Like many of our citizens, the city struggled financially.

The lack of construction had a serious impact on sales taxes and permit revenues. We faced declining revenues in other areas and made some large budget cuts, including staff reductions.

Financially there were some bright spots. Border communities get a one cent per gallon tax on gasoline sales. This revenue was up considerably due to increased Canadian business. In fact, if it were not for our friends from the north, Whatcom County’s economy would have suffered much more than it did. Keep those loonies coming.

All was not doom and gloom. In 2011, we had several significant accomplishments.

The $1.7 million improvement to H Street was completed in September. The $500,000 reclaimed water project to the Semiahmoo Golf Course was completed in October. At the new Gateway Zone (airport property), Boblett Court was completed at a cost of $400,000, and $1.4 million in improvements were made to B Street, 4th Street and 9th Street. In addition to these construction projects, the city received funding for a major H Street project and the paving of the pedestrian trail along Portal. These projects will start in 2012.

Major changes continued in Marine Park. With the financial help of the Northwest Parks and Recreation District, three new shelters were constructed in Marine Park. Also, a new kayak launch was completed on Runge Avenue.

There will be continued financial constraints in 2012. That said, we have lined up another busy year and look forward to working on some important and exciting projects.

2012 will be another productive year! Stay tuned.