Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin gives an address to the city council of her proposed 2024 budget at the Everett Police Department North Precinct in Everett, Washington on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin gives an address to the city council of her proposed 2024 budget at the Everett Police Department North Precinct in Everett, Washington on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Everett’s new budget trims $104M, with deficit still looming

The City Council approved a $438.8 million budget this week, with the police department getting an 18.6% increase over 2023.

EVERETT — Everett’s budget for 2024 features $104 million less in spending than this year — but city leaders will still have to grapple with a growing budget deficit in the years to come.

The city forecasts a $13.1 million deficit for 2025, with that estimate increasing to $35.9 million by the end of 2030.

On Wednesday, the City Council approved the $438.8 million budget for next year, down from $543.2 million originally budgeted for 2023.

“We clearly need solutions long term to address our structural deficit and a revenue option that will help us balance our budget long into the future,” Mayor Cassie Franklin said at the meeting Wednesday. “And it continues to weigh heavily on my mind, and I know it weighs on all of yours as well, as a council.”

In January, the city’s finance department will brief the City Council on revenue options, she said.

Next year’s budget is balanced.

A big reason why it’s smaller than the 2023 budget? The city planned to issue $100 million worth of revenue bonds for water and sewer projects this year, a number that was later reduced to $49.2 million. Some of those projects have been postponed.

The city has no plans to issue bonds next year.

In September, city spokesperson Simone Tarver said the city made more than expected this year from sales taxes, construction fees and business and occupation taxes.

Sales tax revenue “keeps coming in a little bit more strongly,” Finance Director Susy Haugen said at the meeting Wednesday. “I expect it will end the year at about $39 million. It’s been an incredibly outstanding year in terms of sales tax.”

The 2024 budget includes $50.8 million for the police department, an increase of 18.6% from this year’s budget. More money for patrols in south Everett, a motorcycle unit and the narcotics division account for some of that increase.

Nine new cops will be added to the department, seven of whom will mostly be funded by a $6 million federal grant the council approved in 2020.

The other two are replacing officers assigned to the state’s recently established regional police training academy in Skagit County. The academy will pay their salaries for the next two years.

The city is also adding a police public disclosure specialist and wellness coordinator to support police. The budget has $90,000 set aside for the department’s hiring program.

“Every day, I hear from individuals sharing their safety concerns for themselves, their children and our community,” Franklin said in her budget address in September. “Our residents, business owners and visitors deserve to feel safe in our city, but I know many do not.”

Sophia Gates: 425-339-3035; sophia.gates@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @SophiaSGates.

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