Anderson’s ‘creative accounting’ troubling

I am writing in response to Everett City Council member Mark Olson’s Oct. 22 letter to The Herald (“Everett mayoral race: Negative ad had wrong information”). Mr. Olson defends Mayor Frank Anderson’s preliminary 2004 budget, claiming that creative accounting techniques are a responsible form of fiscal management. I believe he has missed the point. The bottom line is simple: the City of Everett is projected to spend more money than it takes in for the 2004 budget year. While using the cash forward surplus as an accounting tool may allow the city to legally balance the budget this year, the fundamental issue of expenses versus income remains to be addressed.

The question for Mayor Anderson is how he plans to manage the city budget in these uncertain and difficult economic times. So far he has only managed to answer with some creative accounting. True, this technique was used in the booming ’90s to bridge a couple budget gaps, but with the local economy sputtering along and with all the Boeing layoffs, can we count on creative accounting year after year to steer this city toward a fiscally responsible future?

On Tuesday, voters will choose Everett’s next mayor. In my book, Ray Stephanson’s vision and expertise represents an attractive alternative to creative accounting.


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