Spending strategies include hiring freezes, furloughs — and no frills

City staff report that, like individuals, the recession has forced cities to take a second look at spending.

“We’ve basically tightened our belt,” said David O. Kleitsch, economic development director for the city of Lynnwood. “Each department took at 3.5 percent budget reduction, there is a freeze on spending and a hiring freeze while we monitor revenue flow so we know where we are in cash flow.”

Other cities have undergone similar moves.

“We projected earlier this year that the state’s tax revenues would be down by $1.2 million,” said Lorenzo Hines Jr., city finance director. “To mitigate the reduction, we took a number of reductions to get the sum.”

City departments in Edmonds reduced expenses 48 percent to address the drop in revenue. Through furloughs and cut or reduced programs, Edmonds was able to achieve 78 percent of the goal, according to Hines. The balance came from not transferring monies from the general fund into a fund for vehicle replacement.

In Mountlake Terrace, the reductions have included cuts to travel, leaving positions vacant and being more efficient. “Little things add up,” said Mountlake Terrace City Manager John J. Caulfield.

Mill Creek staff is bracing for a slump in construction activity and sales.

“We’ve kept our belts tight,” said Mill Creek Finance Director Landy Manuel. The result being that since adopting the current biennium budget, the council has not made changes to the adopted budget. No furloughs or layoffs are expected.

— Mina Williams

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