Snoqualmie council appoints ethics officer, amends budget, awards 2018 human services funding

At their last meeting of the year on Dec. 11, the Snoqualmie City Council pursued plans announced in October to begin an investigation into a suspected violation of the city’s code of ethics.

Council members agreed Dec. 11 to hire Ethics Hearing Officer Grant Degginger to look into the issue discovered this fall, involving an outside business partnership between contract events coordinator Leslie Billington and her then-supervisor Public Works Director Dan Marcinko. However, there was a procedural mixup and the council did not formally vote on Degginger’s appointment; the council met Dec. 14 in a special meeting to correct the error.

Councilmembers Katherine Ross, James Mayhew, and Sean Sundwall had earlier formed a selection committee to and interview candidates for the ethics hearing officer position. On Dec. 11, they unanimously recommended the council appoint Degginger of Lane Powell law firm.

Degginger is the chairperson of the firm’s Government Law Team and was the Mayor of Bellevue from 2006-10. Prior to his term as mayor, he had served on the Bellevue City Council since 1999.

The council also approved mid-term adjustments to the city’s biennial budget and approved the city’s 2018 human services funding allocations.

Interim Finance Director Rob Orton explained that, as part of state law, the city does a mid-term review of the biennial budget and makes adjustments to the document to reflect actual revenues and expenses and accommodate unforeseen fund balance changes. The change also transferred funds scheduled for expenditure in 2017 to 2018.

“Part of it were projects unfinished in 2017, part of it were projects approved but did not get started, part of it was the 2018, 2019 schedule for the larger projects,” Orton said.

The general fund total for 2017 was amended from $77,588,120 to the actual $77,132,737. The general fund estimate for 2018 was adjusted from $65,843,107 to $86,705,480.

The council also unanimously approved the recommendations for funding human service organizations, as recommended by the city’s Human Services Committee. The committee reviewed all requests received and recommended funding a total of $169,000 across 11 organizations.

The organizations chosen for funding were:

  • Encompass – $30,000
  • Friends of Youth – $15,000
  • Lifewire – $3,000
  • Mamma’s Hands – $10,000
  • Mt. Si Senior Center – $27,000
  • Snoqualmie Valley Community Network – $16,000
  • Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank – $35,000
  • Sno-Valley Indoor playground – $1,000
  • Snoqualmie Valley Shelter Services – $15,000
  • Society of St. Vincent de Paul – $10,000 and
  • Two Rivers School, for on-site counseling, medical and dental care for low-income youth – $7,000

In the funding process, committee members and staff review the applications and score each one to determine recommendations. A total of 1.12 percent of the general fund is allocated for Human Services funding.

Snoqualmie staffer Eric Kaltenbacher said the committee is looking to expand its membership and revamp the program to be more detailed, reach more Valley organizations and to make sure that all requests are considered.

The council agreed and voted to amend the approval of recommended funding with a request of staff and the committee to return to the council before the end of the first quarter of 2018 with a strategic plan and process for revamping the committee, as well as new documents for needs assessment and weighted criteria for allocation of funds.

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