MUKILTEO, Wash., November 9, 2021 – Mukilteo city council passed Ordinance 1456, amending the Capital Facilities element of the Comprehensive Plan, and held discussions on the city’s 2022 budget before voting for approval on November 15.
All council members were in attendance except Councilmember Joe Marine who was unable to attend.
Adoption of the Capital Improvement Plan Ordinance
Through Osaki’s slideshow, he explained that revenues and expenditures for the first nine months of 2021 are in line with budgeted expectations, with some revenues higher than budgeted.
Although the city is 75 percent through 2021, not all revenues and expenditures will be at 75 percent because some monthly and quarterly revenue might be delayed into the fourth quarter, and some annual expenses are incurred at one time in January or February.
The financial information provided during Osaki’s performance gave an overall summary of each fund’s actual revenues and expenditures as compared to the 2021 budget and prior year actuals with additional information provided on variances.
Osaki’s presentation showed that the general fund’s total revenues are lower than budgeted through September, at 71.5 percent of the budgeted amount. The amount received is less than the budget primarily because second-half property taxes, the City’s largest revenue source, are not due until November. Other taxes, like sales tax and utility taxes, are coming in higher than budgeted through the third quarter. Sales tax revenue through the third quarter was $561,371 higher than budgeted. Sales tax collections through September are 96.6 percent of the annual budget of $2,400,000.
The City is still projected to bring in approximately $3.1 million of sales tax revenue for 2021. Recreation revenue was minimal in the first quarter with the closure of Rosehill Community Center, but that activity is picking up and revenue is 56.6 percent of the budget through the third quarter.
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Fund revenue is lower than budgeted with the receipt of second-half property taxes due in November. Expenses for the EMS fund are slightly over budget, at 75.2 percent through the third quarter.
Expenses for the Surface Water Management Fund were under budget, at 73.8 percent through the third quarter. It is expected that expenses will remain below budget at year-end.
Following Osaki’s presentation, he recommended the council motion to approve Ordinance 1456 and accepted any questions from the council.
There was no discussion and no public comment following the questions. Louis Harris then motioned to approve the ordinance, seconded by Councilmember Emery. The motion passed unanimously.
“We have a lot of appreciation to all of the directors and staff that played a role in the CIP,” Mayor Gregerson said of the approved ordinance. “It’s a big accomplishment.”
Final Mukilteo Budget Hearing Before Approval
Council continued discussion on the city’s 2022 budget draft, with questions addressed to Finance Director Shawn Hunstock and Public Works Director Andrea Swisstack to better understand budget items before the final budget is voted on for approval on November 15.
Presentations and budget items have remained the topic of discussion in council meetings beginning June 2021 through November 1.
As described in the city’s agenda, the city’s 2022 Budget goal summary aims to:
- Keep the community safe
- Keep equipment and facilities in good repair
- Plan for a full year of an open community center
- Fund full staffing in all departments to ensure goals are met
- Begin construction of the waterfront promenade from the Ferry Terminal to Edgewater Beach and the design of the Japanese Gulch Creek daylighting project
- Provide for public outreach and robust communication via plan development and various department staffing and workload
- Hold the reserve strong with an ending fund balance at 31.3 percent, well above the policy requirements of 16.67 percent (two months in reserve). The city also has $1 million in emergency reserve, untapped during the pandemic.
In addition to what is included in the draft, Councilmember Louis Harris proposed allocating funds toward an Economic Recovery Plan, which he explained would develop a more community-focused effort that brings residents and businesses together with robust engagement involving the future of the city’s economic center.
Administrator Steve Powers answered Council Vice President Champion’s question of a dollar amount, saying the amount would range between $20,000 to $100,000.
“One of the key driving points of cost is what kind of public outreach process are you envisioning and what kind of role does the consultant play in helping the city with that process,” Steve Powers explained.
Council Vice President Bob Champion added that he would need more time to think the idea over and asked Harris if he had considered chairing the committee necessary to work on a project such as this.
“As somebody who is committed to seeing this effort through, I’m certainly willing to take a front seat,” Harris said.
Regarding funding an additional FTE Police Officer, Chief Cheol Kang answered the council’s questions about bringing in a new patrol officer to the police department, noting that the additional patrol officer would significantly benefit the department by providing relief for existing officers, increasing response times, and maintaining a high level of service.
During public comment, Mukilteo resident Charlie Pancerewski added to his previous concerns about Mayor Gregerson and Councilmember Richard Emery’s gun buyback program, which would allocate city funds to buy firearms from residents who no longer want them.
“I don’t see the city spending taxpayers’ dollars to get rid of guns that people don’t use, don’t want,” Pancerewski said.
Pancerewski voiced concern about the budget regarding the Rosehill Community center and its total expenses of $945,000. But Finance Director Hunstock showed during a previous meeting that additional expenses could be $300,000 more than what the budget shows.
“The council is misleading the public, and perhaps themselves a bit, in saying the general fund is subsidizing Rosehill by about $260,000 a year,” Pancerewski said. “You need to adjust the budget somehow to show that what reads as total expenses is not actually total expenses.”
Pancerewski referred to the council meeting held October 11 in which Finance Director Hunstock presented some additional costs to Rosehill, which appeared in other departments.
Hunstock addressed Pancerewski’s concerns by saying that “all the numbers are consistent,” although the costs are on different pages of the budget packet. Councilmember Riaz Khan sided with Pancerewski in saying that the total cost should be included on the Rosehill page to avoid any further confusion.
After a two-hour discussion on proposed budget items, Council Vice President Champion believed the council should continue until November 15 to have more time to consider the effects of their approved budget and to have a full council which would include Mayor-elect Joe Marine. Emery agreed with Champion’s decision.
Councilmember Elizabeth Crawford then motioned to continue the hearing on the 2022 budget until November 15, which was seconded by councilman Richard Emery and passed unanimously.
The 2022 City of Mukilteo Preliminary Annual Budget draft can be read in full by clicking here.