City Council approves $1 million adjustment in municipal budget

June 12, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

The latest step in a broad reorganization of City Hall included a $1 million drop in the municipal budget, as the City Council redirected spending after a round of employee layoffs in some departments and hires elsewhere.

The midyear budget reflected a change in strategy at City Hall, as officials retool functions to reflect recommendations in a study conducted last year by a Seattle consultant.

Officials already bundled municipal departments into a Development Services Department — a super-agency meant to streamline planning and building functions — and rolled out a more muscular effort to attract and retain businesses.

The budget adjustment approved by the council May 21 shifted dollars among city accounts to achieve the decrease. The legislation is meant to address the changes in the city spending plan since the council adopted the original 2012 budget in December.

The original budget approved by the council amounted to $85,654,955. The adjusted budget approved last month is $84,562,989 — a $1,091,966 decrease.

The savings come from reductions in the former Planning and Public Works Engineering departments workforce through layoffs and a severance program. Officials also left vacant positions unfilled.

But, at the same time, officials created positions, and hired a deputy city administrator and employees dedicated to development and economic development.

Other budget adjustments could reach the council in November or December. The year-end process to align the budget is routine.

Mayor Ava Frisinger usually starts the process to form the next municipal budget in October. The council then deliberates for more than a month on changes to the document and approves a spending plan before Dec. 31.

The recent adjustment stemmed from recommendations outlined last year by Seattle consultant Moss Adams.

The study focused on efficiency and effectiveness. Moss Adams discovered different cultures, expectations and management styles across municipal departments. The report also pointed out the differences in coordination, scheduling and tracking across departments.

The decisions to create the Development Services Department and increase economic development efforts stemmed in part from the study.

In a separate budget decision May 21, council members authorized a change from a part-time position to a full-time position in the City Clerk’s Office.

City Clerk Tina Eggers said staffing the position on a full-time basis offers better service to customers, and allows the city clerk and deputy city clerk more time to handle other tasks.

The council authorized spending up to $39,000 to make the position full-time. Duties for the post include acting as a passport agent, records archivist and counter receptionist. The employee handles other tasks such as supplies and equipment, petty cash, mail processing, pet licensing and calendar appointments.

The position opened after the former employee resigned to move out of state.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or Comment at

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