August 2, 2007 in Voices

2008 budget previewed

By The Spokesman-Review

Spokane Valley is preparing to enter its fifth full year as a city with a balanced budget totaling $94 million.

City Manager Dave Mercier on Tuesday gave the City Council a quick overview of the preliminary 2008 budget.

Police, courts, jail costs and animal control make public safety the city’s largest expense at $19.2 million.

At $8 million, “general government” takes up the next largest item on the list of general fund expenditures. It includes miscellaneous things like renting space for City Hall, and transfers into a civic building reserve fund expected to total $9 million by the end of next year that could be used to build a new City Hall.

In 2008, Spokane Valley financial experts also recommend setting aside $400,000 to start a fund to repair and replace city buildings.

When all spending is accounted for, the city expects to have a 15 percent fund balance at the end of 2008, according to the draft budget released last week.

The total budget – which accounts for all capital projects, grants, and other revenues – will increase 23 percent over this year’s spending plan. General fund expenditures will increase 10 percent to $37 million.

The city expects to fill seven new positions next year: a half-time deputy city clerk; a half-time human resources assistant; an administrative analyst; an accountant/budget analyst; two CenterPlace maintenance positions; a capital projects engineer, and a public works administrative assistant.

Other new expenditures include $250,000 set aside for a transportation impact fee study and $150,000 to bring sidewalks and other city facilities into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. There also is $75,000 budgeted for a voice-activated building permit system.

In the Parks Department, plans call for outdoor movies next year, an increase in the number of year-round recreation programs and some new evening classes at the senior center.

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