October 27, 2011 in Washington Voices

Valley budget has stabilized recently

 

Reference Mr. Grafos letter of Oct. 20 in Valley Voice. I don’t claim to be a forensic accountant, but I can read numbers. Our actual City General Fund expenses went from $32,283,182 in 2006 to $33,139,050 in 2009, an increase of 2.7 percent over the three-year period in spite of public safety increasing by $4 million.

Shortly after incorporating in 2003, our city manager estimated how many staff he would need and started hiring with skeleton crew of 35. This crew would work all day, then eat dinner, then work far into the night, and still not keep up with the demand. He said it would take about five years for staff levels to stabilize. Thus, we expected to “staff up” in the early years, then stabilize in the latter years. For the past few years, our staff levels have remained rather constant.

It seems to me that Mr. Grafos is trying to snatch financial defeat out of the jaws of financial success. We have excellent reserves, maintain service levels in the face of a tough economy, have an average of less than 1 percent increase per year in spending, and have lowered the tax rate from about $1.60 per thousand to about $1.51 per thousand; not bad for a new city.

It’s time to accept these financial facts, take our gaze off the past, and focus on planning a great future for Spokane Valley.

Bill Gothmann

Spokane Valley City Councilman


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