City Manager Steve Sarkozy Monday presented the City Council with a proposed 2009-2010 operating budget (9 MB) that maintains current service levels, but essentially holds the line on new expenditures.
Even though Bellevue's financial condition has remained largely positive during the recent economic tumult that has impacted many local governments, Sarkozy said the city expects a slowdown in coming months. As such, the proposed budget is conservative, and recommends new expenditures be limited and strategically targeted.
"Our city's strong tradition of fiscal stewardship, coupled with the growth we've experienced in recent years, has served us well in these difficult times," Sarkozy said. "But no one knows what the coming months will bring, and we are taking a very cautious approach to help us weather any potential downturn in revenues and growth."
Sarkozy recently instructed department directors to closely monitor all expenditures, restrict discretionary spending and fill only those positions critical to their operations.
The council will discuss the budget over the next month. A final operating budget, as well as a 2009 -2015 Capital Investment Program (CIP) plan (22 MB), are expected to be adopted by the council on Dec. 1.
The proposed operating budget:
- Maintains current service levels;
- Proposes no layoffs;
- Proposes no tax rate increases to fund the operating budget;
- Proposes converting six limited-term employees in key, service-demand areas to regular employees, and hiring two new employees. The majority of the positions are paid for by existing revenues;
- Responds to federal and state funding mandates.
The proposed CIP budget continues ongoing major maintenance projects, provides funding to complete projects included in the previous CIP, and provides matching funds for the 2008 parks levy that goes before voters next week. The CIP also recommends key infrastructure investments in the areas of mobility, environmental stewardship and utilities.
Sarkozy said both the proposed operating and capital budgets are in keeping with the city's goal of delivering the highest level of city services possible while making necessary strategic investments for the future. This same philosophy was reflected last year when the Council, responding to emerging public safety needs created by the city's growth, passed a supplemental budget authorizing the hiring of eight new firefighters, six police officers and a transportation engineer.
Council members are expected to discuss in detail the proposed operating budget on Monday, Nov. 3. The CIP budget is expected to be discussed Nov. 10, followed on Nov. 17 with a discussion on the Utilities budget. Follow-up discussions will occur Nov. 24, with final action by the council expected Dec. 1.
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