Here we are in the middle of July working on the 2020 budget that won’t be presented to council until the first part of October. So why are we starting so early? Well actually, staff has been working on their department budgets for some time now. It is important each year for departments to review expenditures, expenses and anticipated revenues yet to come so that they can build their 2020 budget with the best information our Finance Department can project.
Again, the departments have been working on their department budgets for some time. Also understand many of the departments are responsible for budgets in the millions of dollars. For example, our General Fund budget is in excess of $44 million and all of our budgets combined exceed $109 million.
This past Monday was a key day as we gathered department directors and key staff together to lay out in general our current financial position, emphasize certain points, and stress the importance of meeting scheduled deadlines over the next several months.
On July 12 we will have another important meeting with the City Council to discuss their expectations regarding meeting certain deadlines and procedures. Of interest to staff are the priorities that individual council members may have and, hopefully compile a list of collective council priorities. We went through a similar process of prioritizing last year and staff was able to accommodate many of the council requests.
Over the coming three months our Finance Department has laid out a schedule which will keep us all very busy. The staff will have the preliminary budget pulled together after department priorities are made, followed by my approval, and then a preliminary budget presentation to the council on Oct 8. The council will then have until year’s end to make budget decisions. During that time there will two scheduled public hearings for citizens to share their thoughts on the 2020 preliminary budget.
On the revenue front, we are having another very strong year. Our sales tax revenues have grown dramatically with new businesses coming to all areas of Edmonds. Our restaurant and entertainment business continues to expand. Our automobile revenue continues to be strong, and our Planning and Engineering departments are extremely busy, although construction sales tax is trending down slightly.
Our city has been very successful in developing a reputation as a “Daytime Destination”, thus improving our financial position.
Of course, over time, our expenses are increasing. We are working hard and will be watching expenses carefully.
Finally, I know many of you are concerned about increasing taxes. We all are. In the graph below, please note that of your property tax bill, only 15.2% goes to the city.
I hope this brief overview provides you with an idea of how your city’s budget process works and the time and analysis we put into determining next year’s budget, while also providing you with a sense of our city’s financial improvement.
— By Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling