Enumclaw council approves 2021 budget

The council also discussed how it should fund youth services — specifically, the Enumclaw Youth Center, run by the YMCA.

Enumclaw City Council chambers. File photo

Enumclaw City Council chambers. File photo

The city of Enumclaw heads into 2021 with a budget that tallies a bit more than $65 million.

The municipal spending plan was adopted during the City Council’s final meeting of December, following months of preparation. Things got rolling late last summer with requests from department heads and eventually included a series of council workshops and a pair of public hearings.

Final figures show nearly $40.2 million will be spent, with another $25 million heading into various city reserve accounts. On the matching side of the ledger, the city shows revenues of almost $39 million on top of carryover funds (beginning reserves) of more than $26 million.

The largest single portion of the budget is identified as “enterprise funds,” or the city’s five utilities. In an area where available funds have to at least match the dollars spent; expenditures account for more than $19 million during the coming year.

The city operates water, wastewater, natural gas, solid waste and stormwater utilities.

Totaling $11.5 million in the ’21 budget is the city’s General Fund which supports things as diverse as police protection, maintenance of city streets, offerings of the Parks and Recreation Department, planning, administration and programming for senior citizens.

After months of work on the budget, the council had only one sticking point the evening of Dec. 14. With adoption of the budget looming before them, council members again wrestled with proposed funding for youth services.

The city has traditionally supported operations at the Enumclaw Youth Center, which had been run by Auburn Youth and Family Services until being taken over this year by the Seattle YMCA. Council members had complained a month ago about the YMCA continuing to collect city dollars while the youth center was shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At that time, the council had sliced a suggested $60,000 budget recommendation to $40,000. When it came time to adopt the budget, the debate continued.

Mayor Jan Molinaro noted that discussions have continued with the YMCA regarding a plan for the distribution of $10,000 every three months, contingent upon quarterly updates. As part of an emailed reply, he said, the YMCA indicated it would have trouble finding employees or planning anything without a more permanent commitment.

Councilman Chance La Fleur suggested that the arrangement could be changed to a full $40,000 distribution to be paid monthly, but with a provision that allowed for cancellation of the funding agreement with a 60-day notification period.

Councilman Kyle Jacobson agreed with the idea, adding that the YMCA should be assured the city would honor its commitment unless the YMCA failed to meet its contractual obligation.

He reminded that the current situation exists because “they provided no services during the lockdown.”

Councilman Anthony Wright added his desire for guaranteed staffing of 20 hours a week. “If we can’t have someone there in the building that’s going to be able to respond to our youth, I don’t see what we’re really supporting,” he said.

Councilman Kael Johnson noted his support for the Youth Center in general, but opposition to further funding of the YMCA.

The debate came to a close when Finance Director Stephanie McKenzie pointed out that the 2021 budget, as prepared, simply included $40,000 for “youth services.” How that money is spent, and who gets it, could be determined in January, she said.

“We can earmark $40,000 and not spend any of it,” she concluded.

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