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.
Balancing the City’s finances in the current economic environment is not an easy task, but the foundation we set together in the last budget will serve us well. In 2008, we began a new budget process called Budgeting by Priorities (BP). Through redefining our services to align with citizen priorities, coupled with sound fiscal management of the City’s day-to-day operations for the last two years, we have been able to weather the lingering recession to date without large layoffs or furloughs.
Part of the reason for this is that early on I asked all departments to find ways to reduce spending and improve their efficiencies in providing City services. Over the two-year budget, the City’s expenditures are eight percent below our budget, and our efforts to manage more cost-effectively come at a time when our revenues are down commensurately. We have saved in our capital expenditures due to the favorable bid climate, delivering project improvements like the 36th Street Bridge over 520 at a greatly reduced cost to you, the taxpayers. We have also been able to move forward with key City projects like the acquisition of the Burlington Northern Right-of-Way that runs through Redmond, a key investment to ensuring our downtown continues to redevelop as envisioned.
Throughout these lean times, we are also continuing to move forward on several BP initiatives of improving customer service, developing a predictable and streamlined permitting process and measuring our performance in a meaningful way. We have examined the lessons learned from our 2008 BP efforts and made improvements to our current budget process now underway.
As I write this letter, we are about half way through the process. The budget offers for City services have been turned in, ranked, and submitted to me. Over the next several weeks, the department directors and I will review the rankings and dollar allocations to develop the preliminary budget. I will present that budget to the City Council on October 5 and invite you to watch or comment at our regular Tuesday meetings or at the October 19 public hearing.
As many of you did in 2008, I hope you are following our progress on the website (www.redmond.gov/bp) and will attend the hearing to give us your input. As noted, your priorities have served as the foundation for our efforts, and I always welcome your thoughts, comments, or questions on the budget or any other issue.
Please contact me with any questions, suggestions or issues at email@example.com or 425-556-2101.
John Marchione, Mayor