Mill Creek city budget reduced by 1.6% post COVID
City plans to adopt 2021-2022 budget in early December
Last updated 11/8/2020 at 9:50am
The City of Mill Creek is making plans for the next biennial budget, covering expenditures for 2021 and 2022, and the impact of COVID-19 is not as bad as expected, said Jeff Balentine, finance director.
He said the City projected a decrease in sales and use tax funds of 11 percent but now anticipates a 1.6% decrease in the general fund from last year. For the two-year period considered in that budget, general fund expenditures are $28,927,732, which represents that 1.6% decrease.
"Our revenue's pretty flat versus what we were projecting versus 2019 and 2020, which is good news with the COVID-19," Balentine said.
The draft budget is on the calendar for a public hearing with hopes of scheduling a vote for Dec. 1 or Dec. 8 for adoption of the budget.
In May, the city implemented a hiring freeze in preparation for losses from COVID-19, Balentine said. Like many municipalities, it was preparing for the worst.
In the upcoming two-year budget, potential changes are a refashioning of the chief of staff and some other positions, as well as a set of changes that could create an uptick in passport sales.
That role is currently held by Grace Lockett, who was not immediately available for comment.
The city hopes that an increase in hours, capacity and space for passports will assist in hiking revenue by 47%. The last biennial budget brought in just under $900,000 from passport services, and in this budget the goal is $1.3 million.
The reason the hit was not as hard as it could have been was in part because of new construction: a one-time sales tax for The Farm, 355 residential apartments on approximately 17 acres near 132nd Street SE. That offset a loss in local sales tax revenue from sheltering requirements that created a reduced customer base for Mill Creek. Sales tax for the city of Mill Creek is 10.5%, per the city website.
The preliminary budget is available for review here: #https://bit.ly/3oXq3bI#. A public hearing is scheduled Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. The meeting is open to the public and accessible via phone or computer. #https://bit.ly/2I9zaV#
Past agendas, meeting minutes and audio recordings of council meetings are located here: #https://bit.ly/3mLqunG#.