Tumwater on Tap
City of Tumwater, Washington  |  www.ci.tumwater.wa.us  |  January 2015 

Department profile: Finance
aThe City of Tumwater's Finance Department provides a broad spectrum of services to the public and all other City departments.

The Finance Department has seven employees who focus on face-to-face, telephone and electronic customer service. They are often the first point of contact for citizens and visitors. They answer general questions like: how do I get to the Police Department? Or, do I need a business license? They produce monthly water, sewer and storm water billings to 8,000 utility customers; set up new utility services; close out utility accounts; help resolve water leaks; answer fee questions and take payments for City permits, services, and traffic violations; send reminders to businesses to file their Business and Occupational (B&O) Tax Returns; and make sure that fees and charges are collected equitably and correctly. They participate in many aspects of accounting activities for the City. And yes, they have been observed to cheer for the Seahawks. 

In the back-office, six more employees pay vendors, contractors and employees,and account for City investments - monetary, facilities, equipment, streets and pipes - through regular audits and inventory. It is important to know at any one time what the City owns and owes (assets and liabilities), and what it takes in and pays out (revenues and expenditures). The Finance Department is responsible for keeping public assets and liability information accurate, accessible and understandable, while using best practices for compliance with official accounting rules. The department also offers budget and financial development and reporting for all City services.

The department is under new leadership. Ursula Euler was appointed as the City's Finance Director in December 2014, replacing long-time employee Jim Hendrickson who retired last year.  

Tumwater considers new sales tax funding for transportation infrastructure

streetsIn recognition of the need to provide a dedicated, consistent and predictable funding source to maintain and preserve the City's transportation system, the Tumwater City Council passed Ordinance No. O2014-019 on September 16, 2014, creating the Tumwater Transportation Benefit District (TBD).  The TBD has the authority to impose certain taxes and fees for transportation purposes, either through a vote of the people or by action of the TBD Board, which is comprised of the members of the Tumwater City Council.


Setting up the TBD - November 18, 2014

The Tumwater TBD held its initial meeting where the Board adopted resolutions creating a Charter and Bylaws to establish operating rules and procedures for the TBD and adopting an interlocal agreement with the City to coordinate efforts necessary to fulfill the intent of the District.  The Board also scheduled the second TBD meeting for December 9, 2014, to begin consideration of the projects to be funded by the TBD and the funding option to be implemented.


Funding options reviewed - December 9, 2014

At the TBD meeting the Board discussed projects to be funded by the TBD with consensus that the primary concern focus on the ability to maintain and preserve the City's 100 miles of roadway.  The Board also discussed the merits of funding options-either a sales and use tax of up to two-tenths of one percent (0.2%) or a $20 vehicle license fee. Following much discussion, the Board directed staff to prepare a resolution to consider a voted sales tax increase to fund transportation at the January meeting.


NEW! Consider vote for sales tax funding - January 20, 2015

The next TBD Board meeting is scheduled for January 20, 2015, at 7:30 p.m., following the regular City Council meeting at Tumwater City Hall. The Board will consider forwarding a ballot proposition for the 0.2% sales and use tax for the voters of the City of Tumwater (district). It is estimated that this measure would generate up to $810,000 annually to fund maintenance and preservation of the City's transportation system.


The January 20 meeting will be televised on Tumwater TV (Comcast customers, Channel 26) and available on demand following the meeting. For more information, visit the City website at www.ci.tumwater.wa.us/transportation.


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Transportation System - by the numbers


  • The City of Tumwater's transportation system includes approximately 101 miles of streets with an estimated value of $196 million (replacement cost). As a rule, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure- it is less expensive to maintain streets than it is to repair or replace them. 
  • Preventative maintenance (crack sealing and seal coat) for the approximately 9 miles of street to preserve conditions would cost $6 million. 
  • Rehabilitation (patching, overlay and surface reconstruction) of the poorest 2.5 miles of roads would cost $18 million. 

Thurston Community Television (TCTV), a community media partner 
mediaThe City of Tumwater contracts with Thurston Community Television (TCTV) to operate Tumwater TV, available through Comcast cable television, Channel 26. Funding for Tumwater TV services comes from franchise fees that cable companies pay in exchange for using City streets and roadways for their distribution system. 

TCTV cablecasts and records all Tumwater City Council meetings and other significant public meetings during the year. TCTV also operates a readerboard on Tumwater TV and continuously trains local citizens in television production skills. Especially in an area with no local commercial television stations, TCTV provides a vital outlet for local expression and public information.

In 2012, TCTV began a video streaming service for the City. Viewers can access recorded Tumwater City Council meetings from the past two years for on-demand viewing through TCTV's website. Links are available on the City's website to these resources as well. See Tumwater Videos On Demand.

In addition to Tumwater TV Channel 26, TCTV operates two other public access channels for which Tumwater citizens can produce and cablecast local programs of all kinds. TCTV provides hundreds of hours of specialized and general interest local programming available around the clock on its channels, found on the Comcast cable television.

TCTV services are jointly funded by the cities of Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater and Thurston County. The contract between the City and TCTV specifies the number of hours of service that Tumwater will receive every year. For more information, visit the TCTV website at TCTV.net.

Neighborhood event grants are now available!
grantsDo you have an idea for an event in your neighborhood? Grant funding is now available to help you achieve that vision. 

Neighborhood Event Grants provide funds to groups that would like to host community events in their neighborhood. Groups provide volunteer resources, in-kind donations, or cash, and those resources are matched by grants up to $250. Neighborhood Event Grants are available through the Community Matching Fund. The fund was established in 2014 by the Tumwater City Council to provide incentives for neighborhoods to build community through engaging projects and events.

Neighborhood Event Grant applications are available now on the City of Tumwater's website at www.ci.tumwater.wa.us/neighborhoodgrants. Funds are limited so apply today! 


The Community Matching Fund was established as part of the Tumwater City Council's strategic priority to: Build a community recognized for quality. The Community Matching Fund makes
grants available to community groups through two programs, Neighborhood Event Grants and Neighborhood Project Grants. 


Coming Soon!

Neighborhood Project Grant applications will be accepted from March 1-31, 2015. These project grants up to $1,000 are made available on a competitive basis to groups that organize to complete a project that benefits the neighborhood or overall community. Grant funding must be matched by the group with a minimum of 50 percent of total project costs with volunteer hours, in-kind donations, and/or cash resources.

For more information, contact the City of Tumwater Volunteer Coordinator at volunteer@ci.tumwater.wa.us or visit www.ci.tumwater.wa.us/neighborhoodgrants.


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Tumwater City Hall

555 Israel Road SW

Tumwater WA 98501

(360) 754-5855