City budget gets 2 percent trim

November 25, 2008

By Jon Savelle

The city’s 2009 budget is nearly ready for adoption, after the City Council found ways to cut $2.2 million from the administration’s $111.7 million proposal.

A final public hearing on the budget is set for Dec. 1 at the council’s regular meeting. Should any further revisions be necessary, they will be incorporated into the final budget, which is scheduled for adoption Dec. 15.

By that time, the council will have discussed the budget in 10 separate public meetings. The overarching theme this year was cost cutting and guarding the public’s money, particularly because the national economy is weak and tax revenues are down.

Of the money the council was able to save, nearly half came by deleting one street improvement project on Rainier Boulevard North. Budgeted at $985,000, with $385,000 of that to come from a grant, the project was easy to drop because the grant wasn’t received, said city Finance Director Jim Blake.

Other big savings came from the general fund — $562,265; from deferred shop construction — $105,166; from deferred capital improvements — $183,376; from deferred utility connection costs for a proposed trolley maintenance building — $104,250; and various amounts from leaving vacant jobs unfilled.

One small cut of $5,600 was achieved by not funding the city Christmas tree lighting in 2009. That amount pays for a contractor to rent and install lights on the tall evergreen at Front Street North and Northeast Dogwood Street, a tradition that has been popular for years. But for 2009, in the midst of painful cuts elsewhere and a difficult economy, the expenditure was hard for the council to justify.

If you go

Final public budget hearing

7:30 p.m. Dec. 1

Council Chambers

City Hall South

135 E. Sunset Way

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