Monroe puts final touches on budget

By Leslie Moriarty

Herald Writer

MONROE — Should Monroe buy a bus for the senior center?

Should the city fund a land use attorney?

Those sticky questions came up during a recent city council workshop on the 2002 city budget.

Council members and staff have been working for six weeks to create a 2002 budget. A preliminary plan calls for spending $9 million in the general fund, and includes a 1 percent increase in city taxes.

The total budget is $37.8 million, up from $37.7 million this year.

Finance director Carol Grey has prepared a contingency plan that takes into account a loss of 15 percent in sales tax revenue. Because of current economic conditions, council member Ken Berger had Grey draft a budget that reduces the amount of sales tax revenue by $350,000.

Council members told Grey they support the proposed budget and the contingency plan. But before the budget is taken to residents in a public hearing Wednesday, 21) council members have asked that staff rework a few things.

Council member Penny Sopris-Kegerreis said she wanted to see restoration of the city’s $20,000 community program request fund, which was eliminated in the contingency plan. That is money the city sets aside to spend when community groups ask for help. One pending request is money for a bus for the East Snohomish County Senior Center in Monroe.

"There’s $57,000 in this budget for training for employees in various departments," she said. "Considering that, I’m appalled that we are arguing over spending $20,000 in community funds."

Council members also told staff they wanted to fund a land-use attorney at a rate of $31,500 for nine months. It had been reduced to $21,000 in the contingency plan, to be filled for six months.

"In the long run, having that legal advice as we plan may save us money down the road by not having to go to court," council member Marc Mechling said.

Interim city administrator Thom Myers said the position will be put back in the budget for nine months.

Also included in the contingency budget is $229,155 in deferred spending, the result of department heads going back through their requests looking for items that could be delayed until halfway through the year.

At that point, Grey will determine how the city’s sales tax revenues are doing and whether the deferred spending can take place.

With those reductions, the city plans to spend about $8.7 million. The plan also calls for a 10 percent reserve to 2003.

The city expects to raise property taxes 1 percent, as allowed by the recently passed Initiative 747. The city also plans to use 3 percent of its banked property tax increase.

Grey said that cities have been allowed to raise property taxes 6 percent a year. But during the past couple of years, Monroe has only raised taxes by an average of 3 percent.

So city property tax increases will equate, Grey said, to about a $400 property tax bill for the owner of a home assessed at $200,000 for city services. The 2001 bill would be $390.

City residents will also likely see an increase in utility tax rates of about 4 percent and an increase in a fire district levy of up to 8 percent.

You can call Herald Writer Leslie Moriarty at 425-339-3436

or send e-mail to moriarty@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

911 received multiple calls reporting a fire at Marie Anne Terrace apartments early Monday morning, Feb. 6, 2023 in Everett, Washington. There were no injuries or fatalities. (Everett Fire Department)
Fire damages Everett apartments, displaces 10

The fire at the Marie Anne Terrace apartments Monday night displaced four families and caused extensive property damage.

A rack with cards bettors can use to choose their own numbers to purchase lottery ticket on a counter at a market. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Been to Auburn lately? That’s where $754M Powerball ticket was sold

This is only the second time a Powerball jackpot has been won in Washington.

Granite Falls
Man shot near Granite Falls; assailants at large

Two suspects fled after shooting a 33-year-old man in a motorhome Tuesday morning, according to police.

Photo by David Welton
A federal grant will help pay for the cost of adding a charging station to the Clinton ferry terminal.
Federal money to help electrify Clinton ferry dock

The Federal Transit Administration awarded state ferries a $4.9 million grant to help electrify the Mukilteo-Clinton route.

Community Transit is leasing a 60-foot articulated BYD battery electric bus this year as an early step in the zero emission planning process. (Community Transit)
Community Transit testing 60-foot electric bus

The agency leased the BYD K11M for $132,000 this year as the first step in its zero-emission planning process.

Angelica Montanari and daughter Makena, 1, outside of the Community Health Center of Snohomish County Everett-Central Clinic on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Amid patient woes, CHC of Snohomish County staffers push for a union

Doctors and nurse practitioners are worried about providers being shut out from clinical decisions, which hurts patient care.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of education.
Public school enrollment still down, even as rural districts grow

Smaller districts in Snohomish County seem to be recovering more quickly — and gaining students — than their urban counterparts.

Exterior of Arlington high school (Arlington High School)
Marysville schools employee accused of raping Arlington High girl

Police said Christopher Carpenter sexually assaulted a teenager he was training while working at the Boys and Girls Club.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
Democratic Latinos form a caucus, hospital staffing bill clears a hurdle

It’s Day 31. Here’s what’s happening in the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature

Most Read