The 2022 budget season is here | Council Corner
Last updated 10/6/2021 at 2:50pm
Autumn is here and so is budget season. This week the mayor presented the preliminary 2022 budget, which is the kickoff to the season – officially known as the budget process.
The budget process consists of individual department budget presentations, public hearings, and Council deliberations prior to adoption. State law requires the presentation of the following year's preliminary budget by Nov. 15 and adoption by Dec. 31. This year's timeline establishes a final budget adoption goal of Nov. 15.
The 2021 budget was a very challenging budget to adopt, considering we were seeing record-breaking COVID-19 cases at that time, vaccines were not available, and the American Rescue Plan Act had not yet passed. This created a lot of uncertainty in our revenue streams. With that in mind, as well as our commitment to fiscal integrity, our budget deliberations were difficult, long, and somewhat redundant. In the end, Council took a very cautious and conservative approach to the 2021 budget. This approach has been favorable, as we are trending in line with budget expectations. Sales taxes continue to come in higher than budgeted, which put us in a good position as we head into the 2022 budget process. The general fund balance, which is the largest city operating fund, is estimated to end the year with a 14.63% surplus.
In efforts to have more transparent, effective and productive deliberations and results during the 2022 budget season, the Finance Committee engaged with the rest of Council early in the year to start thinking about their individual budget goals and priorities. Councilmembers shared their ideas before the budget process began and certain items that were aligned with our overall Council and City priorities made it into the preliminary budget. With this proactive approach along with the favorable year to date budget estimates that we are seeing, this should make for a smoother budget process this year.
The 2022 preliminary budget identifies the mayor's operating and capital priorities for the upcoming year. Some of the budget's focuses include strengthening public safety from investing in training, community outreach to equipment replacement, and filling city vacancies as well as staffing for specific projects such as the Snohomish County Master Annexation Interlocal Agreement.
The preliminary budget includes revenues from a 1% allowable property tax increase and revenues that reflect normal community center operations. Council will now have the opportunity to ask further and detailed questions, deliberate and discuss the need of the items that are presented in this preliminary budget. The process also includes public participation in form of a public hearing, where residents can comment and give council feedback. We encourage you to take part in the budget process with us.
There are many ways you can get involved in the 2022 budget process. You can attend our meetings on Monday nights. This can be done by Zoom or Facebook - all information is found on the city website. You can give public comment on specific items or the entire budget. This can be done by calling in via zoom. Familiarize yourself with budget documents by visiting the budget site https://mukilteowa.gov/2022-preliminary-budget/.
And as always you can email your council members at [email protected]