News Briefs

Vancouver projects $6M deficit

The city of Vancouver is facing a $6 million deficit.

The deficit was caused by factors including inflation, a property tax cap, elimination of the motor vehicle excise tax and the local business and occupation tax and the current national economic situation, according to a city memo.

The city is required to have a balanced budget by law, and is considering four options to close the gap. Details on those options are at www.cityofvancouver.us.

Public meetings regarding the budget will be held Nov. 3, 10 and 17. A final budget will be adopted and public input will be accepted at the Nov. 17 meeting.

 

Hearing set for NW Natural settlement

The Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission will hold a public hearing Nov. 13 about a settlement agreement with Portland-based NW Natural.

A settlement was reached Oct. 21 in Seattle between the company and the Washington State Attorney General’s Public Counsel Section, which represents the public in utility rate cases, regarding increases in natural gas rates.

Under the agreement, residential customers would get a 4.2 percent increase in monthly gas bills instead of the 6.3 percent boost NW Natural proposed.

Also in the settlement is a shareholder profit margin of 10.1 percent rather than the proposed 10.65 percent, and a monthly residential charge increase of $2 rather than $5. A surcharge was not approved for lower customer energy use and neither were rate adjustments for weather changes.

The new rates could take effect in January 2009, pending approval of the UTC.

The hearing will be at 7:30 p.m. at Clark Public Utilities Electric Center, 1200 Fort Vancouver Way in Vancouver.

County gives disability employment awards

Clark County’s Department of Community Services presented its seventh annual disability employment awards Oct. 21.

The awards honor those who are committed to improving the lives of people with developmental disabilities.

The Dennis Campbell Outstanding Service award went to senators Craig Pridemore and Joseph Zarelli. Private employer of the year was the Camas branch of Northbrook, Ill.-based Underwriters Laboratories Inc.

Clark County Administrator Bill Barron was named public employer of the year and employee of the year was Daniel Starke, a 19-year employee of Vancouver-based Burgerville.

Executive unemployment regulations changing

Starting Jan. 1, executives will be covered for unemployment insurance by default.

Under current Washington state law, executives are exempt from the insurance unless their employers elect to cover them and pay unemployment taxes.

The new law reverses that and companies must include executive wages and unemployment insurance in quarterly reports. Details are available at www.esd.wa.gov.

Around the Table reopens with investor

Camas-based Around the Table resumed operations Oct. 3 with the support of a silent investor.

The former restaurant’s owner, Karen Lasher, will concentrate efforts on providing event space, catering services and cooking classes.

Vancouver Clinic moves to larger home

The Vancouver Clinic held a ribbon cutting ceremony Oct. 20 for its new building at 700 N.E. 87th Ave. in Vancouver.

The clinic is now in its 138,300-square-foot space, which is more than twice the previous size, and will house at least 20 of its practices and about 95 care providers.

The three-story facility has 24 modules, each with a light-filled reception area. The clinic also has four other offices in Vancouver and Battle Ground with nearly 200 medical practitioners. An open house at the new clinic is set for 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 20.

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