Editor’s Update Wednesday 12:45pm: MyEverettNews.com received the following update this morning from Meghan Pembroke at the City of Everett regarding the 2015 deficit jump from $12 million to $13 Million dollars…
The Mayor’s address on March 19 referenced the most recent official update to our forecast, which was done in December. In preparation for tonight’s presentation, we updated the model to include adjustments on both the revenue and expenditure forecast, so council would have the most current numbers to work with. Those were the numbers that Susy used in her presentation last week.
Since the last formal update in December, the major changes include:
• Increasing the annual debt support for the Events Center by $800k. For several years now, the Events Center has not been meeting its revenue projections, and has had to draw down its operating reserve to pay debt service. This reserve is now down to about $500k. Current projections for activity at the Events Center indicate that it will be able to fund its operations going forward, but will need additional help to meet debt obligations. In light of that information, we have programmed an ongoing increase in debt support into the model.
• Revenue adjustments to property tax, sales tax, utility tax, and service charges resulted in a net increase of $234k.
Thanks to Meghan for the clarification. There will be a lot more detail and information provided at tonight’s Everett City Council meeting. LD
Mayor Stephanson is asking for public involvement to make tough budget decisions.
On March 19th, Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson delivered a letter to the Everett City Council outlining a budget deficit of 12 million dollars in 2015 growing to 20 million dollars by 2018 if no adjustments are made to the way Everett deals with its finances. Today city public information director Meghan Pembroke issued a press release saying the deficit is now projected at 13 million dollars for 2015 and 21 million dollars by 2018. At Wednesday night’s Everett City Council meeting, Everett Parks and Recreation Director Paul Kaftanski will share a menu of options for citizens, business owners and city council members to consider. Those include possible changes in the police, fire, parks and other city departments.
Here’s the full press release issued today inviting citizens of Everett to attend the city council meeting, watch on cable or view online. The meeting begins at 6:30 in the Everett City Council Chambers at 3002 Wetmore in downtown Everett.
Community members are encouraged to attend Wednesday’s city council meeting, where staff will present options for bringing the city’s finances back into structural balance for the long term.
“We must make significant and thoughtful changes to the way we do business in order to close the budget gap,” said Mayor Ray Stephanson. “I urge our residents and business owners to join us as we discuss what kind of city we want to be in the future.”
The city faces a deficit of $13 million in 2015, which will grow to $21 million by 2018 if no adjustments are made. Financial modeling shows revenue growing by just 2.3 percent a year, while the city’s expenses are projected to increase by 4.1 percent a year.
In December the mayor convened a group of senior staff, led by Parks Director Paul Kaftanski, to research and evaluate potential actions city leaders could take to balance the budget. At the April 2 council meeting, Kaftanski will share the results of their efforts with councilmembers and the public. Council meetings are broadcast live on the Everett Channel: Comcast channel 21, Frontier channel 29, or online at www.everettwa.org.
“Our goal is to be proactive in addressing our budget challenge now, in a sustainable way, rather than face a crisis in the future,” said Stephanson. “Like many municipalities, we are facing a new normal, and we must take a hard look at the services we provide, and how those services are funded.”
Kaftanski will share a menu of options Wednesday night, including cuts to programs, adjustments to rates and fees, and potential changes to the way the city provides service in some of its largest departments, including public safety, transit, parks and the library.
Community members will have the chance to share feedback and ask questions at council meetings and public meetings in April and May.