News

City begins budget process

SNOQUALMIE _ City Council members got their first look at


departmental budgets for next year at a workshop meeting Sept. 19. But by the


time they received the preliminary reports, there wasn't much work to be done.


Scheduled for eight hours over two nights, the budget workshop took


a fraction of that time. In years past, department heads arrived at the


budget workshops with a large number of requests that would be pruned


down by city staff and the council.


"Historically, everybody came together with a wish list and said, `I


want this and this and this,'" explained Mayor Randy "Fuzzy" Fletcher


to council members.


City Administrator Gary Armstrong said that this year the


vast majority of the cutting was done prior to the meeting with council members.


"It was a completely balanced budget when we walked in the door,"


he said during the workshop held at City Hall.


It needed to be balanced because 2001 will be the first year that the


city will be without the shortfall agreement with Weyerhaeuser Real Estate


Co., which began in 1996. Since the addition of Snoqualmie


Ridge, Snoqualmie has operated under a complicated agreement with


WRECO, which has contributed money to the city's budget so the city can


provide services. But this year, the agreement ended.


"The shortfall ended in the middle of the year," Armstrong said. "We


had to stand on our own; we are standing on our own."


Some major changes for 2001 include the separation of the Parks


Department from the Planning Department. There is also a new


Irrigation Department, which will be funded by revenues from customers.


One thing that will help the city stand on its own is its assessed


valuation. Preliminary figures for 2001 estimate an assessed valuation of


$306.1 million, not including new construction. That is up from $220.7


million in 2000. Since 1994, the assessed valuation was $110.4 million. that


number has jumped by a whopping $249.7 million.


"It's a significant change in revenues that we've absolutely needed


in order to balance," Armstrong said.


For the Department of Public Safety, Chief Don Isley is asking


for additional personnel for the fire and police divisions. The fire


division would add an entry-level firefighter position and promote a


current firefighter to lieutenant to meet the growing workload.


"The lieutenant will be able to take care of some of the duties on


days," he said.


The police division would gain a public safety officer to help


with records, evidence and prisoner transfers. Isley said the city would


receive money from the federal COPS grant to help pay for the position, with


the city paying $14,000.


With the amount of construction on Snoqualmie Ridge, the


Building Department is doing four times the work of similar


departments, Armstrong said. It is asking for another building inspector.


"Anybody who's been out on the Ridge to see the workload (can


see) it's phenomenal," Armstrong said.


The Public Works Department has added a part-time worker to its


2001 budget, and in the Parks Department, Parks Superintendent, Jeff


Mumma, would become parks manager while adding one full-time parks worker


and two seasonal employees.


The city will also begin tackling some ambitious projects next


year, including; rebuilding Park Street ($490,000), building a


pedestrian/equestrian bridge over the Snoqualmie River ($665,000), reconstructing


Lift Station No. 1 ($700,000), conducting a State Route 202 corridor


study ($230,000), replacing sidewalks along Maple Street ($250,000) and


Park Street ($160,000), replacing telemetry systems for city wells and the


reservoir ($100,000), installing corrosion control facilities and disinfecting


the Canyon Springs source ($821,000), conducting a downtown


economic study ($30,000), adding to geographic information systems' mapping


capabilities ($80,000) and completing a site evaluation for a new fire


station on Snoqualmie Ridge ($30,000). Many of the projects would


receive funding from both state and federal government.


New vehicles are proposed for several departments, including a new


police car, a Jeep Cherokee for the Parks and Irrigation Department, a


pickup for the Water Department and a five-year lease on a new street sweeper.


With those additions, there is enough money left to create a


"rainy-day fund" for the city. Armstrong


said that by the end of 2001, Snoqualmie would have $220,000 in


restricted emergency and contingency funds. Over the coming years, he said,


the city would add to the fund.


"It's a good step toward that million (dollars) that we would like


to have there for an emergency," he said. "We want it to truly be an


emergency fund; that's the way we have it set up."

EMAIL NEWSLETTERS

Latest news, top stories, and community events,
delivered to your inbox.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Oct 1 edition online now. Browse the archives.