Public can still discuss city budget

By Kevin Hanson

The Courier-Herald

As Enumclaw’s elected and appointed leaders wade through the process of putting together a workable budget for 2011, members of the public still have the opportunity to make their voices heard.

The coming year’s budget is a tough one, as Enumclaw struggles through times of diminishing resources – like cities everywhere. The proposed budget released by Mayor Liz Reynolds identifies a gap of approximately $600,000 between anticipated revenues and expenditures.

Going through the budget department by department, members of the City Council have already attended four budget workshops and a fifth is slated for tonight, Wednesday. The session will begin at 7 at City Hall, 1339 Griffin Ave., and will be shown live on ECTV Channel 21.

A public hearing on the budget is planned for 7:30 p.m. Monday during a regularly-scheduled council meeting. It is anticipated the council will adopt the 2011 budget during its meeting of Dec. 13.

While the mayor is charged with submitting a budget proposal, that’s just the first formal step in the process. The council has the authority to alter the spending plan before its final adoption.

The council still faces some crucial budget decisions. For example, members are still looking at ways to fund three firefighter/EMT positions for the coming year. The city is responsible for paying salaries and benefits for 2011, before District 28 assumes the financial obligation as part of the recent annexation vote.

Also, city leaders continue to hear about the plan – included in Reynolds’ budget proposal – to eliminate funding for various agencies that provide work beneficial to the community.

When the council met Nov. 8, nine citizens stepped to the podium asking that council reconsider the proposal that would eliminate funding for agencies like Plateau Outreach Ministries, the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center and Enumclaw Youth and Family Services.

In other action Nov. 8, the council:

• hosted the second of three public hearings on the proposed 2011 property tax levy to be imposed by the city. It was noted the city will collect the 1 percent increase allowed by law; but when previously-banked levy capacity is added and new construction considered, the increase for next year will be 4.3 percent.

• heard from event planners Rene Popke and Jaclyn VanHoof, who updated the council on both the upcoming Festival of Crafts and last month’s Oktoberfest. The Festival of Crafts will have more than 90 vendors, VanHoof said, and is already showing a profit, even without ticket sales. Popke said Oktoberfest also turned a profit, even though attendance didn’t quite meet the 2,500 goal. Vendors did extremely well, she said.

• was updated on a new video surveillance system installed for the Enumclaw Police Department. The replacement system protects both officers and inmates and allows for better tracking of activities in the jail, according to Joe Nanavich, manager of information services for the city. As a bonus, he said, the cost of the upgrade was slightly less that $25,500, far less than the projected $35,500.

• was told the exhibit now in Gallery 2010, which also is the City Hall council chambers, displays the photography of Bob Charlo. His work will be shown until Nov. 30.

• heard that Jon Funfar, media services manager for the city, was an honorable mention honoree in the national Excellence in Government Programming contest.

• heard from young Savannah Maddux, who told them of the season’s successes at the Pea Patch, the community garden behind the Enumclaw Public Library.

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