Letter: More financial history

Oct 11, 2017

Councilmember Randy Lord’s historical snapshot of Mukilteo’s finances during his 12-year term left out important facts. He stressed that City funds have not been sufficient to pay for customary city services, saying, “We significantly cut our budgets across the board for years and are now underfunding most of our departments.”

At 12/31/07 our general fund had a $7.3 million surplus, and our Real Estate Excise Tax Funds (REET) had a $10.8 million surplus – this year ending with $4.3 million and $2.5 million, respectively.

If Mukilteo cut its budgets across the board for years, how did they reduce those funds’ surplus by $11 million in addition to spending significant increased taxes collected during those years?

A lot of surplus funds were spent on parks and recreation. Purchases of Japanese Gulch for $1.9 and $1.5 million were both unbudgeted items. Councilmembers Lord, Emery, and Mayor Gregerson, who was then a councilmember, voted in the heart of the recent recession to demolish Rosehill and build a new community center with 20-year bonds that total $18 million, plus annual operating losses currently running almost $500,000 a year.

REET taxes pay part of the annual $900,000 bond payment. The difference is paid from the remaining REET surplus. $1.4 million spent annually to have Rosehill.

The Boys & Girls Club asked the City to sell its current building and give them the proceeds toward their new building. Instead, the council decided to keep the ancient building and gift $500,000 unbudgeted cash to the B&G Club from City surplus.

The mayor and council are discussing to spend $300,000 to fix up the old building and to hire staff at $150,000 annually to manage whatever use they find for the building.

Mukilteo salaries were $9 million in 2015 and $10 million in 2017 (Budget p.4), 11 percent increase in two years for additional personnel and generous raises this year matching other cities’ salaries.

New downtown parking fees provide several hundred thousand dollars profit each year. Mukilteo doubled storm water fees this year. More increases are scheduled each year.

They say taxes have not increased as fees are not taxes.

State Ferries said Mukilteo will receive sales tax from construction of the new ferry terminal approximating $750,000, of which Mukilteo has already received about $50,000.

Hard to accept Lord’s perspective that the City has been and is short of funds for all departments and projects during his many years.

 

Charlie Pancerzewski

Mukilteo

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