BELLEVUE – Potential funding options to meet the city’s growing capital investment needs were presented by staff Monday night when the Bellevue City Council discussed the city’s proposed budget packages.
The discussion took place before the start of the third and final public hearing on the city’s 2007-2008 Operating Budget and 2007-2013 Capital Investment Program Plan.
The Council is expected to vote on the budget in early December.
Monday's budget discussion and hearing is available on Bellevue TV on the city’s website. You can also view the first budget public hearing, on May 15, and the second budget public hearing, on July 17.
City Manager Steve Sarkozy has said the draft budget reflects the city’s sound financial condition. It allows the city to maintain current high service levels and, within fiscal constraints, provide strategic enhancements in areas such as public safety, parks, transportation and neighborhoods.
“We are extremely fortunate that at a time when many municipalities are facing serious financial constraints, we are able to continue to afford to deliver world-class services,” Sarkozy said.
Unfunded Capital Projects
Nevertheless, the city in recent years has found it increasingly difficult to fund much-needed roadway, parks, public safety and other capital investments projects identified by the community. The city estimates that about a half-a-billion dollars in such projects are unfunded, and the list continues to grow.
“Under our current CIP funding constraints, the fact is, we simply haven’t been able to keep pace with our needs,” Sarkozy said. “The large number of people testifying at public hearings in recent weeks, who have sought City Council funding support to address critical operational needs and capital projects, underscores this unmet need.” See budget hearing notes.
Potential funding options discussed Monday include:
• Seek approval to hold the current property tax rate steady at various levels. This would allow the city to sell bonds to raise funds for capital needs. (See Capital Funding Scenarios.)
• Begin utilizing General Funds monies to pay for the maintenance and operation of capital facilities now being funded from the CIP.
• Place an initiative before voters seeking approval of a replacement Parks levy. (See Parks Initiative Proposal.) The current levy expires next year.
• Create an endowment fund that would use existing city funds to establish a sustainable funding mechanism to address critical community needs.
Residents and others with questions or comments are encouraged to e-mail or write the City Council.
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