A special meeting of the Issaquah City Council Tuesday, Feb. 24 demonstrated that while the state and many cities throughout it may be floundering financially, Issaquah is so-far maintaining a sound budget that should lead the city through the year.
The Council requested the meeting because of concerns regarding the current financial market, and how they may be playing out in the city’s 2009 budget.
“It’s a distressing (financial) situation and each of us needs to ensure we’re doing our part to help things turn around,” said Mayor Ava Frisinger. “But our economy in Issaquah is stronger than in many parts of the state.”
She said thanks to businesses like Costco and Target, Issaquah is a “consumer stable” area, and that unlike many other cities, large-scale development projects are continuing to move forward.
She pointed to a $7 million reserve that can be tapped if necessary; $2 million of which is dedicated to times of economic downturn, $1 million for emergencies, and $4 million for normal month-to-month expenditures.
City Finance Director Jim Blake said having a $7 million safety net would help the city by creating a transition period were any financial crisis to happen.
He also detailed how the projected 2009 budget so far matches the actual budget – although the only information currently available is for January.
He emphasized that while it is too early to glean any trends, the projected and actual budgets are expected to stay on course.
In April city staff will have a better idea of developing trends and changing conditions, and how the economic stimulus will have affected things.
At that time, any necessary changes can be made, he said.
“Our best estimate for how the year will go is still the information incorporated into the 2009 budget,” Blake said. “Nothing has changed yet, and it’s really too early to tell anything.”