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Condon presents 2013 budget

Mayor calls plan ‘consistent with our fragile economy’

Spokane Mayor David Condon got right to the point in his required address regarding the city’s “conditions and affairs.”

“Our conditions are stable in a time of financial uncertainty,” he said Monday night in the second sentence of the speech, which is required annually by the City Charter.

At the same time, Condon presented his proposed 2013 budget to the City Council. Previous mayors have waited until November to pass along formal budget plans to the council.

There were few surprises in the budget outline.

Condon has stressed this year he would present a flat budget. And he said in August that he expected to eliminate about 100 jobs, including 65 already vacant.

“It is consistent with our fragile economy and the experiences of our citizens,” he said.

Condon has proposed a $161 million general fund budget, which requires about $10 million in cuts. The general fund pays for police, fire, libraries and other services that are funded mostly by taxes, as opposed to utility fees.

There will be no layoffs in the police department, but 19 vacant officer positions will be eliminated, lowering the official number of budgeted officers to 276.

Condon is asking the City Council to decline the city’s usual 1 percent increase in property taxes. He is proposing a 3.5 percent increase in sewer and water bills and no garbage rate hikes. The budget will not use reserves for the first time in several years.

“We have zeroed in on affordability,” Condon said. “It is providing a service our citizens want at a price they are willing to pay.”

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