Mountlake Terrace council moves on some ARPA spending

The council approved a portion of staff proposals for federal money, including body cameras, generators and road work.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — Body cameras for police, generators, emergency response radios and road work are getting covered by federal money in the coming two years in Mountlake Terrace.

The City Council unanimously approved spending $3 million on those and other projects Monday. The money will come from the city’s remaining $4.5 million federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

Last week, city staff presented their spending proposals that exceeded the amount of available money by $1.3 million. But it gave the council possibilities for one-time capital spending as sought by department leaders.

The council gave the OK on several, but not all, of the staff proposals Monday.

Projects funded this year include:

• $150,000 for information technology;

• $215,000 for an asphalt hot box;

• $200,000 for sidewalk work near 48th Avenue W and 216th Street SW;

• $200,000 for the emergency radio system;

• $250,000 for body cameras;

• $550,000 for generators;

and $1 million for pavement preservation.

The city has state Safe Routes to School grant money for improving the intersection at 48th Avenue W and 216th Street SW. But to make that area truly navigable, a 120-foot stretch of sidewalk is needed. The city’s interim public works director proposed $460,000 for that work, which also includes a short retaining wall.

Its price tag dropped to $200,000 because staff believe they can do the design work in-house instead of contracting it to an outside firm, city engineer Rich Meredith told the council. That work could begin this summer and be done in time for school’s fall start, he said.

Roads are showing signs that the city hasn’t funded an annual pavement preservation program for years. Spending $500,000 on that can help to recover and prolong road integrity, interim public works director Phil Williams told the council last week.

The asphalt hot box will let city crews gather asphalt from a plant and keep it hot enough to use for three days, Williams said. That cuts waste and makes crew time more efficient with fewer trips to an asphalt plant.

Police would get 30 body cameras, which they tout as a boost to accountability and transparency, as well as helping with charges and convictions. The money also would cover the necessary software and support.

The city could pay for an arts plan update using ARPA money eventually. But council members first wanted to hear from the city’s arts commission about the current plan’s implementation.

“I want to make sure we’re not getting another art plan just to have another art plan,” said Council Member Laura Sonmore.

Ben Watanabe: 425-339-3037;; Twitter: @benwatanabe.

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