The Budget Cuts Cometh: Kirkland Service Level Reductions Start January 1

Kirkland Council Adopts Two-Year Budget; Service Reductions Take Effect January 1

At its December 7 meeting, the Kirkland City Council adopted, the 2011-2016 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) and the 2011 Property Tax Levy.  The 2011-2012 Budget  was passed by a City Council vote of 6-1 with Councilmember Bob Sternoff casting the lone NO vote. The two-year budget totals approximately $449 million which is a 12.8% increase from the previous biennial budget due to increases in revenue and expenditures in the annexation area.  The Budget is comprised of 24 separate funds that are independently balanced (i.e. revenues equal expenditures).  The CIP is a six-year plan that addresses construction, repair, maintenance and acquisition of major capital facilities and equipment to improve transportation, utilities, parks, and buildings in the City.  The Property Tax Levy establishes the total dollars in property tax to be received by the City, which is translated into a rate per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The preliminary Budget is currently available online at www.ci.kirkland.wa.us/budget; the final Budget document will be available in hard copy and online by the end of March, 2011.  To view the legislation adopted by the Council and the video of the meeting, visit the “Watch City Council Meetings” webpage at www.ci.kirkland.wa.us.

The Budget determines the type and levels of services that the City can provide. Like many cities, Kirkland was faced with a shortfall in revenue due to the recession.  The 2011-2012 Budget was balanced primarily through service reductions; some of which are highlighted below and will take effect beginning January 1, 2011:

Public Safety Services

o   Eliminate Police ProActive Unit.  (Note: Funding will be revisited following the State’s Legislative Session when the City will have a better understanding of its needs to finance any unfunded State mandates.)

o   Institute temporary closure of Fire Stations when staffing levels fall below minimum standards.  (Note: Closures may not be necessary with the planned implementation of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) transportation fees that will allow the City to bill insurance providers for medical transportation.)

o   Eliminate Police Department Corrections Officer and Fire Department Community Education & Public Information Specialist positions.

Parks, Recreation and Community Services

o   Eliminate remaining seasonal labor hours for park maintenance. This reduction and previous reductions will result in less maintenance (e.g. restroom cleaning and garbage collection) at community and waterfront parks and the continuation of year-round closures of bathrooms at neighborhood parks and elimination of portable toilets at several parks.

o   Further reduction of staff support for human and youth services programs.

Neighborhood Services

o   Eliminate funding for the Neighborhood Connections Program which supported neighborhood association project such as roadway, sidewalk, landscaping or park improvements.  (Note: A portion of the Neighborhood Connections Program reduction was used increase funding for theNeighborhood Matching Grant Program.

Public Works Services

o   Eliminate remaining Neighborhood Traffic Control Program staff.  This reduction and previous reductions to the program will result in decreased response time to address neighborhood traffic safety issues.

o   Eliminate City funding that helped defray some of the costs for the Central Business District Spring Cleaning Event which is sponsored by the Kirkland Downtown Association.

Staff and Miscellaneous Funding Reductions

o   Reduce City Hall reception and passport customer service hours and City Manager’s Office reception and administrative support.

o   Reduce staff support for neighborhood planning efforts.

o   Eliminate funding to mail one edition of City Update, the City’s newsletter.

o   Reduce annual funding to the Kirkland Downtown Association.