New staff positions drive  up budget

Cannon Beach City Hall.

Emergency management is a full-time job, City Manager Bruce St. Denis said in presenting the city’s $18.6 million 2018-19 budget, about an 18 percent increase from last year.

Cannon Beach would be the first city in the county to have an emergency manager. In the past, St. Denis noted, not having a full-time position has resulted in less continuity in training. He hopes a full-time person can put more effort toward building a recovery plan in the event of a major disaster.

“I think it’s important to have a full-time position,” St. Denis said. “Emergency management can’t be done as a side job.”

The $113,000 cost is offset by money the city has already budgeted for an emergency consultant and lower-level emergency part-time position, a difference of about $39,000.

According to the budget message, the budget increase is $3.16 million.

After budget adoption on May 23, that number was slightly higher. New staff positions and increased water rates, wastewater and utility rates are the primary source of the increase, approved by city councilors in March to help cover infrastructure maintenance costs.

A code enforcement officer, also a new position, is budgeted at about $106,000.

Currently, Cannon Beach staff have a hard time keeping up with the number of planning and design codes that need to be enforced, St. Denis said at a budget committee meeting. Enforcement includes managing both short-term and long-term rental enforcement. “The community has high standards, but we don’t have the staff to do the follow up on maintaining those standards.”

Funding changes between the city and the Chamber of Commerce were also resolved. In May, the city proposed a decrease in funding for the Visitors Center, only funding $40,000 of the $160,000 total it takes to operate. The city, which has fully funded the center in the past, asked the chamber to cover the remaining $120,000 with lodging tax dollars.

Chamber officials argued the change would cut into the chamber’s promotion program, which is financed by the lodging tax. The two entities agreed to split the cost of the Visitors Center, with each paying $80,000 next year.

Other budget highlights:

• Transient room taxes are projected to increase by $288,004 or 7 percent over 2017-18 budget amounts.

• $100,000 has been set aside digitizing city hall records as a back-up in the event of an emergency.

• $50,000 has been set aside for a preliminary site study for a new city hall.

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