By Richard Van Winkle, News of Mill Creek.
Washington State laws require cities and counties to create biennial budgets every two years and to solicit public input on these budgets. By law, the city manager is required to deliver Mill Creek’s preliminary 2019-2020 Biennial Budget sixty days before the beginning of the new budget period.
City staff have been working hard to develop the budget over the past few months and Interim City Manager Bob Stowe delivered Mill Creek’s proposed 2019-2020 Biennial Budget to the city council on time, Friday, November 2, 2018.
Former City Manager Rebecca Polizzotto delivered her preliminary 2017-2018 Biennial Budget to the city council almost three weeks late on November 21, 2016.
In the November 2018 City Connection Stowe made the following observation about the 2019-2020 Biennial Budget:
“This plan ensures that the City is in a position to maintain its current level of service delivery for the community throughout the ensuing biennium. In creating the budget, staff and the city council make choices for resource allocations to meet current operational needs and address future fiscal capacity.”
At his request, the Mill Creek City Council gave Stowe the following guidelines for forming the budget earlier this year.
- Include no property tax levy increase in the proposed budget.
- Potentially adjust/increase surface water rates to meet expected or desired infrastructure and operational improvements.
- Adjust fees for services based on actual cost and comparable jurisdictions.
- Develop a sustainable budget that aligns on-going resources to on-going expenses and one-time resources with one-time expenses.
- Maintain the city’s General Operating Reserves at a level equal to at least 15% of the total General Fund budgeted annual revenue.
- Continue to limit the tax burden on Mill Creek’s residents by seeking operating efficiencies wherever possible.
In summary, the 2019-2020 Budget includes the following:
- Total budgeted revenues (plus beginning fund balances) are $58,796,945 for 2019-2020, which is an increase of $1,085,409 (2%) over the previous biennium. Expenses match revenues for this biennium.
- Total General Fund revenues are projected at $28,195,366 and the total General Fund operating expenditures are budgeted at $28,181,353. General Fund revenues are projected to increase $1,329,605 or 5% over the previous biennium. The City’s expenditures have increased $708,888 or 3% from the previous biennium.
- Overall, the 2019-2020 Biennial Budget includes 61.9 employees as compared against the prior authorized 2017-2018 Budget total of 62.2 employees.
The preliminary 2019-2020 Biennial Budget can be found on the city’s website by clicking on this link: 2019-2020 Biennial Budget.
At their regular November 6th meeting, the city council will listen to residents’ comments during a public hearing and then will discuss the proposed 2019-2020 Biennial Budget.
Residents will get additional chances to comment on the budget at another public hearing on November 13th, at the November 27th city council meeting, and at the December 4th city council meeting.