Editor's note: This press release is from the City of Shoreline with some additional reporting by Patch.
A balanced 2013 Proposed Budget was presented to the Shoreline City Council at its October 15 meeting and discussed at subsequent meetings. City Manager Julie Underwood emphasized that next year’s $67 million budget maintains service levels desired by Shoreline’s citizens.
The budget breaks down as follows:
•Operating Budget, $36.7 million
•Capital Budget, $22.1 million
•Debt Service, $3.3 million
•Surface Water Utility, $4.4 million
•Other, $0.5 million
The Shoreline City Council is expected to vote to adopt the budget and property tax levy at its meeting Monday, Nov. 26 at City Hall.
As we all know, the past few years have been very difficult economically. Municipal governments have not been spared the impacts of the worst recession since the Great Depression. Declining tax revenues and property values have created a “perfect storm” that has hit the City hard.
The City depends on taxes and other revenues to balance its budget and provide services. When risky mortgages collapsed the mortgage market, home repossessions increased dramatically. This decreased property values. Property values control the amount of property taxes cities receive. In 2013, Shoreline’s property tax revenues will decline by 6.4 percent (about $650,000) even though Shoreline voters approved a six-year levy in 2010 that allowed property taxes to increase at the rate of inflation. Despite the voter-approved increase, many homeowners and property owners in Shoreline are expected to pay less in property tax to the city in 2013, unless their assessed values went up, which in the latter case the homeowner could pay more.
Added to the decline in property values is the continuing problem associated with unemployment. Higher unemployment and the uncertainty it creates has meant people are spending less, which means lower sales tax revenues. While employment has started to recover and sales tax revenues are beginning to rise, sales tax collections are still near 2006 levels.
In spite of these challenges, the City continues to provide the quality services our community has come to expect and demand.
The only significant increase in the 2013 Proposed Budget comes in the area of capital spending. This year the City was able to secure $10.9 million in additional grant funding to complete the final section of the Aurora Corridor Project from N 192nd to N 205th Streets. After more than ten years of planning and construction, the end is in sight. Construction will begin in early 2013 and be completed in late 2014.
Surface water capital projects are budgeted at $1.9 million for 2013. The Aurora Corridor Project and surface water projects account for the majority of the $14.6 million increase between the 2012 budget and the 2013 Proposed Budget.
The fundamental purpose of the City’s budget is to allocate resources that support the community’s vision and priorities. To achieve this, the City Council has established four goals as part of the 2012-13 City Council Work Plan. The 2013 Proposed Budget includes operating programs to meet each of these goals.
Goal 1: Strengthen Shoreline’s economic base
Goal 2: Improve Shoreline’s utility, transportation, and environmental infrastructure
Goal 3: Prepare for two Shoreline light rail stations
Goal 4: Enhance openness and opportunities for community engagement
“I am very proud to present a balanced 2013 Proposed Budget to the City Council that provides funding to further the Council’s goals and our community’s priorities,” stated City Manager Julie Underwood. “To continue to find ways to address the community’s other growing needs, the City is committed to focusing on efficiencies, partnerships that leverage tax dollars, and hearing from our residents.”
To learn more, visit the budget page.