Everett Mayor Franklin releases 2022 budget to ask voters to lift property tax cover next year

EVERETT – Mayor Cassie Franklin’s 2022 budget proposal of $ 446.5 million continues to take new approaches to keep the budget balanced and adds specific emphasis on climate change, homelessness and equity. But to keep the city’s finances viable, Franklin will seek municipal voting action next year to raise property taxes more than usual.
Franklin wants to ask voters to approve a lift of the property tax cover above the state’s 1% annual increase limit. An increase in the levy rate would increase the budget by $ 8 million.
This is to help alleviate Everett’s continuing structural deficit of being cash negative.
Declaring in his annual budget speech on September 29 that the city has nothing more to cut,
“To balance future budgets, we need to look at other options,” Franklin said. “I think it’s time to allow voters to weigh in on what services and at what level they are willing to support before proposing further cuts in future budgets. The residents of Everett should have a direct voice in these decisions. “
Public hearings on the budget are scheduled for November. The full budget will be posted next week at www.everettwa.gov/budget
In her budget, the mayor will add a full-time homelessness response coordinator to develop a chronic homelessness strategy, as well as staff to take care of the settlements.
An independent homeless camp cleaning team will be set up. At present, the cleanings are mixed with other tasks within Public Works.
Franklin Budget also adds a full-time fundraising developer for libraries to seek grants for the Everett Public Library System. The Everett Animal Shelter has added a successful fundraising development manager in 2019, the mayor noted.
The budget also converts a full-time position to Resource Conservation Specialist, whose job it is to make suggestions on how to reduce waste in the city. This person will be part of the Parks and facilities department.
Overall, Franklin’s 2022 budget adds 13 positions. This includes restoring certain positions cut in 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic which is squeezing the economy.
The budget includes the addition of 10 bus drivers for Everett Transit.
The Forest Park Swim Center is not funded to reopen, but the city hopes to attract a partner to take over the pool’s operations, in the same way it has found a partner to restore operations at the Carl Gipson Senior Center. .
The general government budget, which is the city’s daily operating budget, is $ 155.3 million while generating projected revenues of $ 139.8 million for 2022.

Diversification
One of Franklin’s goals is to make Everett “the hub of the green economy,” she said in her speech. The mayor shed light on how the city is recruiting green energy and nuclear companies and praised the fact that indoor vertical farming company Infarm has made Everett its global headquarters.
The push is for diversification. Consider this: When Boeing shut down the 787 at the Everett plant, that move resulted in an average loss of $ 3.5 million in city annual revenue for Everett, according to reports from the city’s finance office.
City urges manufacturers to open store on 100 vacant acres along Snohomish River Peninsula northeast of where US 2 meets Interstate 5. City calls the land the industrial hub Everett Point (EPIC). department in a new building on this EPIC site.

Structural deficit
The long-standing structural deficit is due to the city’s management exceeding revenue from taxes and service charges.
This usually involves cutting back on services over the last few years to achieve a balanced budget.
The city corrected its structural deficit for the 2022 budget using unspent carry-over funds in 2020.
The approved lifting of the levy ceiling is incorporated into the 2023 budget assumptions to maintain balances in 2023. If voters reject it, the city could see a budget deficit of $ 8 million to face for the 2023 budget.
A long-term forecast still shows that an imbalance returns in 2024 even if voters approve the lifting of the levy cap.
Last but not least, the budget allocates $ 4.8 million in 2022 to the retirement obligations of the city’s police and firefighters. This is in addition to the additional $ 2.2 million transferred into the pension fund from under-spent money earmarked for prison costs.
These pension investments are to help the city get the city back on track to fully fund approximately $ 40 million in police and firefighter pension obligations by an internal 2030 target. To meet that target, it need to allocate about $ 5 million per year.
Budget 2022 does not incorporate the $ 20 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds the city received. The use of these funds is still being defined.

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