Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Proposed City Budget - Up Close and Personal

 Council President Hank Margeson lives on Education Hill

Here's what I picked up on RC-TV during the Mayor's presentation of his Preliminary 2017-2018 Budget:
First, the Mayor looked back to the budget of 2015 - 2016 and was proud the city 1) partnered with Providence Health Care to build the Gabrial House (74 units of housing for Seniors.)  2) partnered with Metro to create the Redmond Loop and 3) partnered with the tribes and State to restore Lower Bear Creek for flood mitigation and salmon habitat improvements.   
As for the budget:  It will increase 3.6% from 2015/2016 for a total of $679M.  Of that, $132M is allocated to capital improvements....a $26M increase. The capital expenditures are identified as improvements to parks,trails, roads and sidewalks. I hope I'm wrong, but it doesn't look like any of this capital will go towards building or developing new parks along the East Redmond Cultural Corridor or elsewhere. There's always a slim chance, though?
The mayor proposes to add 8 new workers to focus on environmental initiatives.  One of the initiatives is to maintain the city's new investments in parks (not develop new ones.)  Mr Hays, the part-time homeless coordinator may given a full time job. Despite the addition of 8 new workers, employment since 2008 is actually reduced from 13 workers to 11. 
The mayor is asking for a 1% increase in property taxes, even though we will have an "ending fund balance" of 17%., I'm not sure exactly what "ending fund balance means - hopefully Council will clarify....perhaps at the November 15 budget Hearing?  
I'm glad the Mayor wants to beef up Safety.  He's proposing 4 new community police officers.  And, he wants to re-allocate 5 peace officers so we have added safety services for property crime investigations and improved evidence gathering.
As for Operating Fund revenues:  21% is property tax, 28% is sale tax, 13% is utility tax (up 2%) and 13% is development fees. Other sources are less significant by percentage.

I'm pretty sure the Mayor will get what he wants. He's developed a comprehesive, innovative and accountable budget process that Council can trust. .

Bob Yoder

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