City Council approves budget cuts that create surplus
March 17, 2010
By Tim Pfarr
NEW — 1:16 p.m. March 17, 2010
At its regular meeting last night, the City Council approved an $186,000 cut to the operating budget. Through the cut and re-appropriation other city funds, the $364,000 budget deficit has been changed to a $53,000 surplus.
The City Council approved the cuts with a 5-1 vote, with Councilman Sonny Putter dissenting and Deputy Mayor Steve Buri absent.
Interim City Manager Rob Wyman recommended the cuts to the operating budget after being directed by the City Council at the Jan. 12 meeting to cut operating expenses by 3 percent.
Through the operating cuts, the amount of money allotted to the city’s housing fund with A Regional Coalition for Housing will be reduced from $53,000 to $3,000 for 2010. Wyman said this would be a one-time cut.
The position of in-house City Attorney Lisa Marshall has been terminated in favor of contracting attorney duties. Dawn Reitan, who works with the Bellevue law firm Inslee Best, will take over as the city’s contract attorney. She previously worked as the city’s contract attorney for about five years prior to the hiring of Marshall in 2006.
Marshall was considered three-fifths of a full-time employee, and there was $73,454 allocated to her position. Reitan will attend the remaining City Council meetings this year in addition to performing about 15 hours of work for the city per month. At $200 per hour, the cost of having a contract attorney will be about $38,000 per year.
Interim Public Works Director Steve Roberge will remain in charge of the department until July, when the city hires a permanent city manager, and this will save about $84,000. Roberge, who also works as the city’s community development director, will be given a 15 percent raise while doing the role of both.
Furthermore, an accounting clerk will be reduced from a full-time employee to three-fifths of a full-time employee, which will save about $14,000.
“Cutting any more than that really starts to impact service levels,” Wyman said in an interview after the meeting.
Also at the meeting, the City Council finalized $745,000 of cuts it had made to the capital budget in January.