Issaquah Council approves 2017 budget

The Issaquah City Council unanimously voted to adopt its 2017 budget at the Dec. 19 regular meeting, as well as to create a School Zone Safety Revenue Fund.

The 2017 budget, which Finance Director Jennifer Olson presented to the council at the meeting, includes $129,696,627 in expenditures and $125,493,047 in revenues, for an ending balance of $69,622,472. The city will begin the year with a total balance of $73,826,052.

Olson noted that the budget proposal put out by the mayor in October recommended a budget where “current level of services are maintained while important challenges are addressed,” that “continues investment in capital assets” and “begins to address operating impacts proposed for a transitioning community.”

The council said that its priorities for the 2017 budget were “overall financial sustainability, moratorium work plan completion and transportation and traffic-related needs.”

“I think we’ve done a very good job of capturing in this budget the intent of this legislative body,” Councilmember Paul Winterstein said.

The council met six times between October and December to deliberate the budget. Additionally, public hearings were held at the Nov. 21, Dec. 3 and Dec. 19 regular meetings.

“I commend the administration for presenting its assessment of how the proposed budget aligns with the city’s financial and budget policies,” Council President Stacy Goodman wrote in a letter to Mayor Fred Butler.

The council made several adjustments to the original budget proposal during work sessions. The council chose to add funds to the Moratorium Work Plan and to begin a Mobility Master Plan, as well as to eliminate the proposed new positions of management analyst and public records clerk — these positions will be reviewed again in the middle of the year. The council also chose not to transfer park mitigation funds for Central Park until the bid alternates become known.

The council added 3.6 full-time equivalents to the city’s personnel, including a construction inspector, senior transportation engineer and a maintenance worker, for a total of 271.125 FTEs.

Capital projects in 2017 will include new police and public works vehicles, Central Park Pad No. 1, Confluence Park, the Skate Park and street projects including the Southeast 62nd Street extension, the Newport Way design, the Street Overlay Program and Complete Streets.

The largest sources of revenue for the city are charges for services (31 percent of revenues) and taxes (30 percent). The largest category of expenditures is personnel (30 percent), followed closely by capital outlay (29 percent).

Winterstein also weighed in on the addition of the new special revenue fund for speed camera revenues.

“We’re committing the funds collected from that speed camera to be used in the future toward traffic education, safety improvements, rather than it going in the general fund where it could be used in really any way,” Winterstein said. “So that special fund is ensuring that those revenues collected have to do with education and safety related to traffic and mobility within the city. And I think that’s a very unique and commendable way to demonstrate in a transparent way that we realize the purpose for those cameras and what we’re trying to do, and we want to make sure that we get the best possible outcome with the funds that we collect for those cameras,” Winterstein said.

At the same meeting, Goodman and Deputy Council President Mary Lou Pauly were re-elected to their positions for 2017.

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