COOS BAY — The Urban Renewal Agency’s proposed $15.76 million budget was approved last week, making way for a number of large projects in the upcoming year.
The URA Budget Committee met last Thursday prior to the budget committee meeting for the city of Coos Bay. The committee discussed both the Downtown District and the Empire District budgets. The budget will be finalized on June 22 by the Coos Bay City Council, which can make limited changes to what was approved last week.
While the URA could raise taxes in order to fund upcoming projects, URA and city staff did not recommend that the committee pass a raise in rates. Instead, the committee opted to keep the rate the same as it has been for the past three years.
The URA projects are paid for, by state law, using debts. These debts can include “du jour bonds,” which are paid off within 24 hours, and are often held by the city, or long-term loans. The funds to pay down debts come from a few sources, including property sales and leases, Tax Increment Financing and special levies.
The amount of long-term debt payment planned for the 2020-2021 year is $2.3 million. This funding will go toward the two loans owned by the downtown district and the two loans owned by the Empire district, respectively.
Capital projects make up a bulk of the URA budget. Between the two districts, the URA proposed $12,148,889 in spending. Downtown projects account for just over $8.5 million and Empire projects account for just under $3.65 million.
City Manager Rodger Craddock pointed out that while the URA has budgeted for $12.15 million in capital projects, some of this funding will be paid in subsequent years. Certain projects must be completed before the URA can reimburse the parties that pay into them, meaning those costs may be paid in the next budget year.
“Rarely are all the funds expended in one budget year,” he said.
The planned capital projects for the 2020-2021 year, as listed on the proposed budget, are:
• Façade Program $800,000 (Downtown $750,000 and Empire $50,000).
• Hollering Place related development $1.5 million
• Street Improvement Projects $3.36 million (Downtown $2.35 million and Empire $1.01 million)
• Hemlock / Hwy Intersection (Coos Bay Village) $1.6 million
• Newmark Seawall $200,000
• Downtown Sidewalk rehabilitation $150,000
• Front Street Property Acquisition & Brownfield Mitigation $790,000
• Front Street Enhancements $50,000
• Unidentified URA Projects $2.44 million (Downtown $1.86 million and Empire $589,935)
Included in these are the Fourth Street project, which will be about $2.35 million and the Coos Bay Village project, which will cost about $1.6 million. Both of these projects involve costly street improvements and may be paid down this year.
The largest of the Empire projects are The Hollering Place’s infrastructure work, at about $1.5 million and $1 million in planned street improvements.