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Council discusses biennial budget ordinance
Bonney Lake City Council members are in the midst of considering an ordinance deadling with a mid-biennial budget amendment.
City Administrator Don Morrison said state laws requires cities that adopt a two-year budget conduct a mid-biennial review and to make modifications deemed appropriate before the start of the second year.
A report presented to the council shows expenditures for 2009 at $43.9 million, $9.3 million less than the adopted $53.1 million.
The revenue during 2009 is $54.9 million, $1.7 million more than the $53.1 million adopted.
“These are based on estimated actuals at the end of this year as opposed to what we originally projected or estimated a year ago,” Morrison said.
He said the city is looking at 2010 revenues based on the city’s financial model and an analysis of expenditure and revenue reports.
“We adjusted our revenue estimates and reduced our expenditures to match the revenue available,” Morrison explained.
Morrison said the city is short $1.4 million from the 2008 budget.
He said the city has put most of its discretionary items on hold, like out-of-state travel, new equipment and consulting services.
Morrison added whatever the city saves in 2009 will carry over to next year’s budget.
Once the ordinance is approved, each city department will be presented a revised total budget. About 70 percent of the budget is earmarked for employee salaries and benefits, Morrison said.
“We still project at the end of next year we’ll have about $4.9 million in the fund balance,” he said. “That is good considering the economy.”
Chief Financial Officer Al Juarez said since compiling the budget in 2008, there have been considerable changes in the national and city economies.
“We have tried to keep the mayor and administration abreast on what is happening,” Juarez said.
During a budget process overview given to council members, Mayor Neil Johnson said the city is in a budget reduction mode due to reduced revenue from the recession.
Johnson said most departments have reduced their spending to gain the needed savings to offset the drop in revenue.
He noted reduction in payroll cost has been accomplished by the furlough program, and reduction or reassignment of general fund positions.
Johnson also mentioned that building permits in 2009 have dramatically dropped since the third quarter of 2007.
Capital projects scheduled for completion during the 2009-10 biennial budget are the Interim Justice Center, 90th Street improvements, Sumner-Buckley Highway improvements, Tacoma Water intertie and pump station, state Route 410 widening and sewer trunk line improvements, and Interlake and Church Lake water main and street improvements.
Johnson also noted there are no cost-of-living adjustments planned for employees in 2010 and no changes in nonunion employees’ salaries.
The 2010 salary rates were previously set through a collective bargaining agreement and salary rates are under negotiation with another employee union.
“Despite the deepest recession in modern history, we have managed to maintain essential services to the citizens,” Johnson wrote in his memo. “We have made a lot of progress this year and I am confident that we’ll see considerably more progress.”