North Bend eyes budget

In the midst of global economic uncertainty, the North Bend City Council is working to prepare its $5.8 million budget for 2009, the city’s centennial year.

It is also the year the city will emerge from a 10-year development moratorium.

The city’s broad array of revenue sources, the success of the Factory Stores at North Bend, and its location off Interstate 90 put the municipality’s finances in a “blessedly stable” position, according to Mayor Ken Hearing.

The new Snoqualmie Casino may also provide a boost to revenues.

Still, at its Nov. 11 work-study session focused on discretionary spending, the consensus of the council was that the city must spend cautiously.

“I want to be very conservative going into next year,” said Councilmember David Cook.

The mayor requested that the city increase its general fund reserve by $100,000 “as an additional safety net to protect the city’s fiscal integrity.”

Despite the economic uncertainty, council members seem unwilling to skimp on commemorating the city’s 100th birthday. The council prioritized the building of a new climbing wall and other improvements at Torguson Park totaling $129,000, as well as $25,000 for centennial celebrations.

Other high-priority discretionary spending included a $12,000 earmark for the human services reserve fund. With King County expected to drastically cut its human services budget, the city would be able to help local organizations like Mount Si Senior Center and the Helping Hand Food Bank should they need assistance.

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