Enumclaw City Council begins budget journey

Adoption of a 2013 municipal budget might be nearly four months away, but members of the Enumclaw City Council took steps last week to avoid a sticky dollars-and-cents situation.

Financial talk during the Aug. 13 council session began on a rather innocuous note, as City Administrator Mike Thomas explained how the administration intends to address the touchy issue of funding outside agencies. Entities ranging from Plateau Outreach Ministries to Auburn Youth and Family Resources count on the city for a portion of their annual operating budgets. In the not-too-distant past, the city was able to provide relatively healthy levels of funding; since the ongoing recession kicked into high gear, however, the city has felt the need to rein in its spending.

Thomas explained the city will again be using its Human Services Advisory Board as a sounding board when making its fiscal allocations. Requests for money will go directly to the HSAB, which will forward a recommendation to the city.

Funding outside agencies "always consumes a lot of the discussion at budget time," Thomas said, noting that last year was no exception.

The discussion went deeper when Councilman Kevin Mahelona questioned how the city would deal this time with the Chamber of Commerce, which traditionally receives funding but doesn't meet "human services" criteria.

"Historically, everyone has been lumped together," Thomas said, admitting "the chamber would be a little bit of an anomaly."

The city has also provided money to Green River Community College, which offers guidance to those operating, or launching, small businesses. It was noted GRCC also plays a different role than social service agencies.

For 2012, the chamber is receiving $10,000 from the city and GRCC is getting $4,000.

In the end, it was agreed that the chamber and GRCC will follow the same timeline as other entities seeking city money, but their 2013 requests will go directly to city administration rather than through the Human Services Advisory Board.

The council's budget process begins in mid-September and concludes with a budget adoption in early December.

In other action during the Aug. 13 meeting, the council:

• heard from Bryson Michael about the redesigned website for the Enumclaw Expo Center. Michael is the city's new media services coordinator and the Expo Center website was his first major project. It is more detailed that the previous site, includes updated information and photos and features hand-drawn images – done by Michael – of Expo Center buildings.

"This is the coolest website the city has," Councilman Jim Hogan said.

City Administrator Mike Thomas said plans call for Michael to upgrade the city site and the swimming pool site.

• approved an online vendor to accept credit card payment for those making payments to Enumclaw Municipal Court. Presently, the city accepts cash, checks and credit cards at the counter in City Hall. The agreement with Retail Lockbox will allow payments to be made 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There is no cost to city, as users will pay a fee for the convenience of paying court costs online. Retail Lockbox retains that fee. Finance Director Stephanie McKenzie said the system will free up staff time and reduce the number of walk-in customers, aside from the added convenience for the public.

• received a written report about the July 25 recycling event at the library, open only to city businesses.

A bit more than 12,000 pounds of material was dropped off by 92 businesses. That included 7,233 pounds of scrap metal, appliances, computer and office equipment and electronics; 3,115 pounds of bulky and scrap wood; 1,245 pounds of cardboard; 345 pounds of office plastics; 46 toner cartridges; and 33 pounds of cellular phones.

• Approved final acceptance of the contract for installation of the synthetic turf at the Pete's Pool football field.

In June 2011 he city awarded a contract to AstroTurf Inc. that totaled nearly $410,000. The final infill and grooming was completed in late April of this year. The project architect has signed off on the installation work, so council gave its final blessing. The final cost, including tax, was $445,000.

• approved a request by Enumclaw High School for its annual Homecoming Parade. This year's event will get rolling at 4 p.m. Sept. 28. The parade will travel Cole Street between Washington and Stevenson avenues.

• was updated on a pair of upcoming community events – both on Saturday – by Mayor Liz Reynolds.

Arts Alive! will present "A Lot of Art" from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the parking lot at Cole Street and Initial Avenue.

The local Marine Corps League will host its annual memorial ceremony from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Purple Heart park on state Route 410.

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