Mayor Franklin Issues First Budget Address

October 17, 2018

Everett

At the Wednesday night Everett City Council meeting Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin issued the first budget address of her administration. The city council also held their first public hearing on the budget. The hearing will remain open with the third and final budget hearing set for November 7th. You can click here to see the 2019 budget summary.
Here is the Mayor’s full budget address to the city council.

Franklin

At the Everett City Council meeting Cassie Franklin delivered her first budget address as Mayor of Everett.

Mayor Franklin’s 2019 Budget AddressOct. 17, 2018

Council President Roberts, City Council members, City staff and residents of Everett:

Tonight I am pleased to present to you a proposed balanced budget for 2019.

As you know, we began the year facing a $13 million budget gap for 2019. Now, we have balanced the budget for the coming year, while also reducing our ongoing deficit by more than $5.6 million.

I want to thank Council President Roberts, Vice President Bader, and Finance Chair Murphy for your leadership, as well as the Council as a whole, who have been very involved in this process. Your willingness to engage in thoughtful deliberation of the difficult options we considered was critical to the progress we have made.

I’d like to thank our exceptional finance team, led by Susy Haugen and Rae Ann Nielsen, who have worked tirelessly and provided valuable insight and leadership to help bring the budget together.

I also want to express my sincere gratitude to our entire City team, at all levels of the organization. Your thoughtful input and suggestions helped shape the budget that I am presenting tonight.

Reducing the structural deficit

Like communities throughout the state, Everett’s budget deficit is tied to Initiative 747 and the cap on property tax, which limits our revenue growth while our expenses continue to rise every year. The City has faced a structural deficit for 15 years, which was made worse by the Great Recession.

When I took office in January, our deficit was projected to grow to $16.4 million by 2020 and to nearly $24 million by 2022. It was clear that one-time cuts would not get us where we need to be.

In February I issued a mayoral directive to address the structural deficit in a significant and sustainable way. Our goal was to make as many long-term changes as we could and ensure that our resources were aligned with the community’s priorities.

From the start, this has been a very collaborative process. City team members and residents shared suggestions about how we could cut costs or realize more revenue. Our department heads also brought forward ideas for restructuring teams or changing service delivery models to reduce expenses.

We also made changes on the staffing side, reducing 18 positions citywide, for a net reduction of 14.5 positions – a total savings of $1.8 million. Those were incredibly difficult choices to make, and there is still more to do.

We are wrapping up assessments of several departments, and we will continue to identify areas for efficiencies and improved service delivery.  And as I outlined in my directive at the beginning of the year, we must explore alternative funding and delivery models for major City services, including Everett Transit, Parks, Everett Fire and the library.

Everett is unlike most Washington cities in the range of services and programs we still provide.

Most communities stopped providing these services many years ago or integrated them into regional systems. Everett maintained services, but without providing additional resources to support our growing population and changing community needs.

We are now projected to add another 70,000 residents in the next 16 years. In order to effectively meet the needs of our community, we need to look at how best to provide the public safety, transportation and quality-of-life services that make Everett an incredible place to live and work.

In 2019 we will begin a comprehensive and transparent review of our transit, parks, fire and library departments to identify the options available to us and how they will affect the general fund in the short- and long-term.

This will allow us to expand and improve our services in a way that is more resilient and regionally connected and supports the growth and economic development that continues to come our way.

Any changes to these systems will have impacts for our community members, and our analysis will provide for public participation and feedback. I will bring forward a facilitated process to assess each of these departments over the next year and a half, and provide recommendations to the City Council.

This budget process offered a great opportunity to rethink how we do business as an organization and to make adjustments to better achieve our goals.

The 2019 budget is aligned with the priorities that we have consistently heard from our community: public safety, economic development and community engagement.

Protecting public safety

In police and fire, Chief Templeman and Chief DeMarco have worked with their command teams to restructure and reduce their top-level positions, while adding more boots on the ground. We continue to actively recruit to fill vacancies in both departments, particularly in police, where we have seen a record number of retirements over the past two years.

Our fire department has been actively working for the past several years to respond to the changing needs of our community efficiently and effectively. I look forward to working with Chief DeMarco and his new leadership team to ensure that we can continue to provide the highest level of service to our residents and community.

Our police team, too, has shown incredible leadership in adapting and directing resources to keep our community safe. This year we have focused on reducing youth and gun violence, especially gang-related activity. As I have shared previously, we recently established a new gang response unit and I am optimistic about the initial results that we have seen from our efforts this year.

We are also expanding engagement between the police department and our community. This month we announced the 10 individuals who will serve as our inaugural Chief’s Community Advisory Board and provide valuable insight to Chief Templeman and the department.

Investing in economic development and community engagement

My 2019 budget also includes a realignment of City teams around the key priorities of economic development, including marketing and tourism, and community development and engagement.

New businesses, new construction, and new visitors all represent new revenue for Everett. We have heard for many years that Everett is “this closeto realizing our full potential; we must invest in economic development priorities in order to achieve that growth.

In May we hired Dan Eernissee as our new economic development director, and in August we established an economic development advisory committee of diverse business leaders. They are already providing valuable guidance to our City team.

We are working with our local and regional partners on initiatives that will drive our economy, including supporting Boeing’s future growth in our city and leveraging commercial air service out of Paine Field We are also working with potential investors to revitalize key properties throughout the city.

There are outstanding developments already underway, from Waterfront Place to Funko’s expansion downtown to the exciting new vision for the commercial center at the Riverfront. In November, the economic development team will come before the Council to share our strategic plan to build on that momentum and bring new investments and opportunities to Everett.

With Council’s approval of the Metro Everett plan in August, we expect to see much of that growth take place downtown. The plan streamlines the path for investment in our urban center, and we’ll bring forward a series of related developer incentives in the coming weeks. Thank you again to our planning team, the Planning Commission and the City Council for the years of work that helped shape the innovative Metro Everett plan.

Finally, we are committed to transparency and engaging with our community. As Everett continues to grow and change, our residents and businesses must be at the table. Strong community networks will help create the kind of city that we all want.

The new community development team, which will work closely with our planning and economic development teams, brings together similar functions from throughout the City, and will provide new ways for our community members to become engaged with each other and the City.

Next year we will also launch an online open data platform to provide even greater access to City information.

The organizational changes we’ve made better align our teams around key community priorities, and will allow us to be more transparent with how we’re spending the resources that have been entrusted to us.

Looking ahead

As we near the end of 2018 and my first year in this office, I am excited about what the coming year holds for Everett.

We are currently conducting national searches for two important director positions in Public Works and Human Resources, and I look forward to working with those teams to provide even better service to our community and our employees.

This fall we’ll continue our work to identify the best location for the Public Works service center. However, we know the service center is not the only City building in need of attention. As Executive Director Paul Kaftanski moves into his new role overseeing our transportation and infrastructure departments, we will begin work to identify and prioritize future upgrades to our facilities to keep our employees safe and provide the highest-level of customer service to our community.

As I close, I’d like to recognize our incredible City team once more. I’ve had the chance to meet with nearly every one of our employees this year, and I have been blown away by their expertise and their dedication to this community. It’s truly a privilege to lead this organization.

I also want to again thank the Council for your leadership and for your significant involvement in the budget process this year. I’d especially like to thank the members of the Budget Committee – Scott Murphy, Brenda Stonecipher, and Jeff Moore – who worked so closely with our finance team for the past several months.

This has been a valuable process, and I am pleased tonight that we have achieved a balanced budget that protects the core services and quality of life that our community expects. We have an incredible foundation as we head into 2019, and I am looking forward to all that we’ll accomplish together in the coming year.

Thank you.



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My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

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