As the summer comes to a close and our thoughts turn to fall, here at the City we are preparing for our biennial budget review with the City Council. While economic times are tight, I am pleased to report that we have worked hard to manage our current budget within available resources. Looking ahead to the FY 11-12 budget, as your Mayor, I remain committed to delivering a budget which continues to focus on citizen service priorities in the most cost-effective and efficient manner possible.
In October I submitted my second budget to the City Council for review and approval. I cannot help but to reflect upon the first budget and all that the City has accomplished in the past two years.
The City’s vision is to ensure Redmond becomes a complete city. This includes two vibrant urban centers – Downtown and Overlake – with connected neighborhoods and high quality, responsive services to you, the citizenry.
Downtown is progressing, even in this economic downturn. Through private development the area is becoming much more walkable with retail on the first floor and apartments or condominiums above. The total number of businesses in Redmond has grown from two years ago.
The City’s accomplishments include opening the Bear Creek Parkway extension in July of 2009 to improve traffic circulation, purchasing the BNSF right-of-way to use as parkland and a transportation corridor, actively managing downtown parking to improve access to downtown businesses and committing to build a downtown park to give residents a pleasant place to gather, listen to music or just relax.
In Overlake, the City has furthered plans to redevelop this area into a more vibrant, walkable area. Traffic congestion is a significant issue. The City is working with Sound Transit and others on the location and design of light rail facilities near the old Group Health hospital and the 40th Street Park and Ride. The City is completing the construction of the NE 36th Street Bridge to give drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians more choices to circulate in the neighborhood. To use land wisely, the City is planning how to co-locate stormwater and park facilities to save you, the taxpayer, millions of dollars in acquisition and development costs.
Efforts to connect and invest in our neighborhoods have also been successful. The City is installing a traffic light at the bottom of Old Redmond Road to connect the Grasslawn neighborhood with Downtown. In the past two years Idylwood and Grasslawn parks received upgraded play equipment that is the desire of every kid. And North Redmond and Education Hill will see a new fire station open at the end of 2011.
We are also progressing with several initiatives set forth through our budgeting process – implementing major information technology as identified in our IT Strategic Plan, improving customer service and the permitting process, implementing permanent savings through innovative practices and managing our business better through performance measures.
Overall, $19 million was permanently excised from the City’s budget through efficiencies in current operations that include departmental reorganizations; managing overtime in public safety and right-sizing administrative costs, contingencies and reserves.
Throughout this year, we also have continued my commitment to environmental sustainability. On November 3, a “Livable Redmond” event kicked off our updating of two major plans – the Comprehensive Plan and the Transportation Master Plan. Creating a sustainable environment is a driving force guiding these efforts.
Please contact me with any questions, suggestions or issues at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-556-2101 and don’t forget Redmond Lights on Saturday, December 4. Rain or shine, I’ll see you there.
John Marchione, Mayor
Mayor John Marchione