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No new taxes in mayor's 2016 budget

Mukilteo Beacon of Mukilteo, Washington

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Mayor Jennifer Gregerson has presented her second budget in a row that has no new tax increases.

Gregerson presented her 2016 preliminary budget to the Mukilteo City Council on Nov. 2. Four more public hearings on the proposal are scheduled in November.

Like her first budget, this one also balances revenues and expenditures without raising taxes.

"For the second year in a row, I am presenting a balanced budget," Gregerson said. "When I first took office, I promised that we would take a break from the tax increases we had seen in past years. This budget continues this break."

Projected total revenues for 2016 are estimated at $25.2 million, up $3.6 million from 2015, while estimated expenditures total $26.9 million, up $5.1 million in 2015. The general fund has a projected balance of $2.7 million in 2016.

Finance Director Doug Volesky said general fund projections for 2016 show that revenues will exceed expenditures and that there is a projected net total of $441,315.

"Our expenditures are meeting our revenues, so there will be no gap in the general fund," said Volesky, who has been working for the city for about a month.

"Projected revenues and transfers in were $14.1 million last year, and it looks like expenditures and transfers out were $14.4 million. This year, our revenues and transfers in are projected at $14.9 million and expenditures and transfers out at $15.2 million."

In an effort to save, the preliminary budget makes cuts to staff and services, including reducing the city's large-item garbage pickup from annual to biennial and eliminating a part-time assistant position.

The budget proposal maintains reserves at $1 million. The city also has 18 percent of its general fund in reserves, about 2 percent more than required..

Gregerson's stop priority for the budget are capital investments.

Her proposal adds funding to install a decant station and settling vault for storm water operations ($1.3 million); build a senior center at the Boys & Girls Club ($1 million); and make renovations and repairs to city buildings ($1 million).

"For several years, our older residents have been asking for a dedicated space," Gregerson said. "We have a unique opportunity to act on this community need in a cost-effective and innovative way — by partnering with the Mukilteo Boys & Girls Club."

The proposal also prioritizes payment for Rosehill Community Center, with a seventh bond payment of $909,000, paid for with Real Estate Excise Tax funds. About $3.1 million will be left in REET funds.

Other priorities include $924,200 to replace a retaining wall on 61st Place W, $882,000 for street pavement preservation, $278,600 to widen Harbour Pointe Boulevard and $150,000 to construct sidewalks, bicycle paths and ADA ramps.

Additional funds go toward the hiring of a fire marshal to serve as an assistant chief ($134,700); security improvements and replacements ($92,900); to purchase a bucket truck ($80,000); and design of the waterfront promenade ($80,000).

"Last year, the City Council made changes that unbalanced the budget, which created uncertainty for our bondholders and wasn't the best course of action," Gregerson said.

The mayor said she refused to sign the 2015 budget because the City Council passed one that was unbalanced.

"This year, we cannot go down this path again, so I look forward to working with you to ensure that the budget you pass is balanced, even as you make changes to what I have presented," Gregerson told councilmembers.

Public hearings on the proposal are scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 9, Nov. 1Q, Nov. 16 and Nov. 23 at City Hall, 11930 Cyrus Way, Mukilteo.

See the preliminary budget on the city's website at

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Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015

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