MUKILTEO, Wash., November 23, 2021 – In a 6-1 vote, the Mukilteo City Council approved ordinance 1455, adopting 2022 city budget ($15.8 million General Fund portion) during a special meeting held Monday, November 22. The total 2022 Mukilteo Budget, including General Funds, Capital Funds, Propriety Funds and Internal Service is $40 million.

The decision was made following a long, contentious, discussion last week in which council approved changes to the preliminary budget and ultimately decided to push the adoption of the final budget another week to yesterday’s special meeting.

The included General Fund revisions, approved at the November 15 meeting, are:

  • Removed additional dog park maintenance funding: expenditures of $22,000
  • Transfer-in remaining balance in the Law Enforcement or Fire Fighter (LEOFF) 1 reserve fund: revenue of $12,864
  • LEOFF health benefit rate decrease: expenditures of $8,500
  • Lower firefighters workers comp rate (general fund portion): expenditures, $14,00
  • Decrease transfer-cut to the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) fund, due to lower exp in EMS fund from lower workers comp rate: expenditures, $8,800
  • Decrease transfer-cut to street fund: expenditures, $20,000
  • Higher solid waste utility tax revenue: revenue, $13,600
  • Higher solid waste franchise fee revenue: revenue, $11,000
  • Remove 1 percent property tax increase: revenue $57,289
  • Additional police officer position: expenditures, $55,000

Questions and comments from council were relatively minimal, many of them having shared their contributions during last week’s five-hour long meeting, with just council member Emery adding he believed the comprehensive plan and transportation plan be clarified as one-time expenses, and Council Vice President Champion vocalizing his opposition to the approval of the budget as a whole.

“I will not vote in favor of this budget. I believe strongly that we’re adding staff unnecessarily and that we’re spending special revenue funds unwisely and unnecessarily,” Champion said.

2022 Mukilteo Budget Public Comments

After council members Emery and Champion shared their comments, the special meeting was open to public comment.

The only comment came from Mukilteo resident Charlie Pancerewski who recommended council consolidate the expenses for the Rosehill Community Center into one section, including the additional $300,000 that is located in different sections of the budget such as public works.

In an email to the Lynnwood Times, Pancerewski also mentioned he would like to see salary increases for staff more clearly defined.

“Page four of your 2022 Budget shows total salaries and wages of $12,474,540 compared to 2021 estimated actual salaries and wages of $11,197,605, an increase of $1,276,935. Compared to the 2021 budget of $11,711,800 it is a $762,740 increase,” Pancerewski wrote. “Your 2022 Budget does not show how much of the increase is to hire more employees and how much is due to wage increases and the percentage of increases for union and nonunion personnel. Your 2022 Budget also does not provide any information about how the employee benefits budget of $4,445,350 increased from the estimated actual in 2021 of $4,119,061, an increase of $326, 289.”

Salaries, wages and benefits for 2022 total $16,919,890 out of total Mukilteo expenditures of $25,047,753, excluding capital expenditures and debt service. Pancerewski asked why the Council would provide and approve a budget where $17 million of wages, salaries and benefits does not provide a comprehensive explanation of how these amounts were determined and how or why they are different from such amounts for 2021 or prior years.

Councilwoman Crawford asked what could be done to provide information in the 2022 Budget to explain the amounts Pancerewski asked about. Mayor Gregerson replied she would include a list of City job descriptions and the salaries of each position at the end of the Budget book as the City has done in the past.

Following no further discussion nor questions from council, Council President Kneller motioned to approve the final budget, ordinance 1455, seconded by council member Harris.

“I appreciate council for having a really good budget discussion this year. I think overall this was a really successful budget process for us and we can offer the community good next year,” Kneller spoke to her motion.

The motion passed 6-1 with Council Vice President Champion voting no.

“I’m glad there’s no increase in tax this year,” council member Khan added.

Despite council member Khan’s comment, council did approve, last week, an increased EMS tax by one percent. The General Fund provides money to fund part of the expenses attributed to EMS service. An increase in the EMS tax reduces the amount the General Fund provides to the EMS thus any increase in EMS tax is effectively an increase in General Fund revenue as the EMS tax increase reduces the amount the General Fund will provide to fund EMS expenditures.

2022 Fee Schedule Resolution

Following the approval of the final 2022 Mukilteo Budget council discussed the approval of resolution 2021-11, establishing the 2022 fees and charges in conjunction with the approved budget.

There were no public comments. Council President Kneller motioned to approve the 2022 fee schedule, seconded by council member Harris.

“As I stated I am not in favor of increasing any fees this year,” Champion said. “There’s a lot more work needed to be done here and I cannot approve it in its current form.”

The motion to approve the schedule passed 6-1 with Council Vice President Champion voting no.

The approved fee changes are:

  • Increased hourly rate schedule to reflect current salary amounts
  • Added clarification that for certain businesses, traffic impact fees may be required. This applies to in-city relocations and new businesses that generate more traffic than the prior use.
  • Moved language from a footnote to the main text and broadened it to cover any project type
  • Section title updated to reflect order of fee payment
  • Clarified when Civil Plan review applied, and added a fee for additional plan review when more than two reviews are necessary
  • Moved deviation request to miscellaneous
  • Moved road development to its own section
  • Clarified that the franchise fees were review fees
  • Clarified the time period for short-term right-of-way permits
  • Clarified what kinds of activities qualified for Type A and Type B right-of-way permits
  • Moved street vacations to its own section
  • Added roadway development section, clarified that roadway development plan review fees are in addition to civil plan review fees
  • Removed stormwater fees for short subdivisions (2-4 lots) and full subdivisions (5+ lots)
  • Clarified that stormwater plan review fee covers the first two reviews, and added a fee for additional plan review if needed
  • Increased stormwater plan review fee for projects which trigger all review requirements to better capture staff review costs
  • Increased stormwater plan review fee for projects which trigger all review requirements to better capture staff review costs
  • Increased Stormwater Plan Review fees for inflation
  • Added street vacation section, and ensured fees covered both the street vacation and review of proposals to dedicate private roads to the City
  • Moved the deviation request fee, updated to better reflect actual cost of staff time
  • Increased Development Standards Deviation Request fee for inflation
  • Added fee to cover staff time for review of tree removal or modification requests on street slopes, which includes review of reports prepared by geotechnical engineers and arborists. There is still no fee for courtesy tree review outside of critical areas
  • Added the word “reviews” to the section title for Land Division and Lot Adjustments
  • Clarified title for miscellaneous land use fees
  • Added footnote to clarify that the traffic impact fee is charged per 0.01 trips
  • Ambulance rates increased six percent to address the increasing cost of supplies and fuel used for transports
  • Increase to boat launch parking permits to cover the staff time for processing applications

The approved 2022 budget, along with the approved fee schedule resolution, go into effect January 1, 2022.

Kienan Briscoe

Michael Kienan Briscoe (referred to by his middle name 'Kienan') has a BA in Journalism from Arizona State University and has worked as a freelancer for a variety of publications and organizations throughout New York City and Seattle. Journalism, to him, is one of the most important public tools to ensure an educated and aware society of events surrounding them. When he is not reporting he enjoys writing fiction and poetry, playing guitar, reading classic literature, and getting outdoors. He lives in Seattle with his two dogs.

Kienan Briscoe has 103 posts and counting. See all posts by Kienan Briscoe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *