By Mina Williams Enterprise editor
LYNNWOOD – In two separate moves Lynnwood’s City Council finalized the budget and approved the construction contract for the new Recreation Center. The votes were taken Monday at the council’s regular meeting.
To balance the mid-biennial budget John Moir, finance director, laid out a plan for the city to transfer money from various funds into the general fund and to retain funds in the general fund which were bound for other budgets. Moir also voiced his forecast of an up tick in retail sales tax revenue as the economy undulates through a rebound.
In addition the cutbacks each department budget has undergone, plus managing payroll costs through attrition will contribute to the balancing effort, he said.
“My concern is that, if the (economy) does not correct, what’s on the block next,” said Loren Simmonds, councilman.
“This is not a perfect proposal, but we are facing the worst economy in decades,” said Mark Smith, councilman. “I’m not happy to be using funds to balance the budget, but in times like these we have to go outside the normal parameters of operations. We have arrived at the best solution to a bad situation.”
Council members Jim Smith and Lisa Utter were the dissenting votes for the budget amendment.
During the meeting the council also gave the final green light to the construction of the recreation center.
“This is the last official step toward an outstanding facility,” said Councilman Ted Hikel of the project that was initiated in 1999.
Still, not all council members were sold on the project.
“This vote gives me heartburn,” said Councilwoman Lisa Utter. “I am concerned that this could not be scaled back.”
Jim Smith, the lone dissenting vote, voiced his concern that the city should do a modest renovation, opposed to the planned construction. “This could not come at a worse time.”
“I appreciate what Jim says, but we just disagree,” said Councilman Mark Smith. “(The rec center) is an investment in our community. It is a statement that quality of life is important and that access to parks and recreation is valuable. We can go back and forth on mechanics, but to delay this project won’t impact the budget. Lynnwood is growing from a small suburb to a city.”