What does city government do for you? People rely on cities for core services like public safety, streets, utilities and parks. Developing the city budget reflects those top priorities and city services.
The City of Marysville has a biennial budget, meaning that city staff develops and the City Council approves a budget every two years. Over the past few months we have been carefully reviewing projections and priorities for the next two years to shape the 2021-2022 biennial budget.
I want to emphasize that the City Council, the city leadership team and I all acknowledge the great responsibility entrusted to us as stewards of your tax dollars. We do not take that lightly. As a Marysville resident and taxpayer myself, I also want our tax dollars to be used efficiently and productively.
As our city, region and nation continue to deal with the impacts of response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our commitment to fiscal prudence is more important than ever. City Finance staff and our leadership team have been thoroughly tracking and assessing local economic impacts.
Our 2020 retail sales tax collections, for example, are projected to drop about 15% below what came in last year. Sales tax is one of the city’s several revenue sources; others include payment for utility and other services, property taxes, business taxes, grants and more. Sales tax contributes 28% of the General Fund, while property tax accounts for 34%.
While your city leaders are always committed to economic efficiency, this year we implemented additional belt-tightening moves. These include reviewing all staff vacancies and filling only those that are essential, reorganizing some positions and eliminating most discretionary spending.
My proposed budget for the next two years is generally one that will hold the line. We will continue to provide the city services you rely on most. Over half of the city’s General Fund is spent on law and justice. We have added several new Police officers over the last several years, and I am pleased to that we are on track to reach full staffing levels there by the end of this year.
The only new positions in my proposed budget are for two sanitation workers in Public Works because the city will add more trash collection neighborhoods when our contract with Waste Management ends at the end of 2021.
Major construction projects will continue. Among these are the new Public Safety Building and Civic Center, Olympic View Park, and connection of Bayview Trail to Centennial Trail. We do not plan any new major projects.
We do not plan to cut programs. Of course, we have had to modify and adjust programming — including most events — to meet pandemic response requirements. I am proud of city staff for their commitment to finding ways to continue to deliver quality programs in this environment.
This month I will submit this proposed biennial budget to the City Council and for public review. Public hearings and your opportunity to comment will take place at the Oct. 26 City Council meeting, beginning online at 7 p.m.
Jon Nehring has been Mayor of Marysville since 2010. You can reach him at 360-363-8000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.