2022 Budget Letter to the Citizens of Enumclaw
To the citizens of Enumclaw and Enumclaw City Council Members,
This will be the fourth budget I will be submitting to the city council on behalf of our community and wish to state that the revenue has been an unexpected surprise in how it has been tracking. With that said one of my concerns is the surge in inflation and how that has affected our expenses for the city. As in life we experience the good and the bad, no different in this year’s 2022 budget.
Perseverance and resilience is how I term the latter half of 2021. Just when it seemed the normal pace of life would return a COVID variant decided to inject itself into our lives. Perseverance has meaning of don’t give up, keep going when the going gets tough. Grit your teeth and keep trying hard. All of this sounds unpleasant at best and at times nearly impossible. Perseverance is key to our journey. We need to persevere and fight the distractions to continue toward our goals.
Having the resilience to continue as a community has strengthened our resolve to be stronger. There is exhaustion and polarization in our city and region. As a society we need to ‘live in the sunshine, not the shadows’. Instead I take the position that one should have an uplifting attitude when interacting with people. Find the grace to be positive and be encouraging, even when you disagree with someone. It is not always easy as this issue continues to be all around us, but with practice you could see negative situations become diffused. Resilience can assist in meeting these situations and ask everyone to consider and practice in some way.
Without perseverance and resilience it is much more difficult to be successful.
In this year’s budget, I felt the need to moderate some requests for the following reason. Future budgets will not have the ARPA funds to fall back on for these requests, thus providing us and outside agencies with the false sense of increased revenues that can be provided. With inflation a real threat to families’ budgets and the city budget, cautious spending needs to be considered in some of these areas.
There are several department requests that are moving forward in the 2022 budget to assist in the needs of the city in providing updates and improvements for our departments. Administration felt that with revenue streams stable, this would be the time to move on delayed project requests and to make those improvements in this next year.
In the 2022 budget each department has provided a solid reason for many of the expenditures in their decision packages. Reviewing these reports you can review that what is being requested will enhance the operations of many of these departments once a project has been completed. In some cases these projects have been delayed for a year or two, or even longer. Now is the time to improve much of our in-house equipment and facilities to meet the future demands of serving our community. These expenditures are a necessary function of operating a city and dollars spent will increase efficiencies in many of these areas.
Last year we all were faced with many economic unknowns. Would sales tax and property tax fall and by how much? If significant decrease, how would the city need to adjust its operations? What other issues would the city face going into the New Year and COVID related issues? Could building permits stay strong which assist in our utility revenue streams? Many of these questions were answered though several continue to be in place again for the coming year as to how it will play out.
This is why I continue to advocate for strong reserves and again have included this in the 2022 budget. It has served the city well over the last 3 years and feel it is a needed stabilizing component in our operating budget and future planning. The previous questions listed will, sometime in the future, be answered again. Whether it is in the near term or several months away. It is our responsibility to plan for these issues if the negative might occur. Preparing now will provide our city with tools on how to deal with these unknowns in a healthier, financially solid position.
With those highlights I would ask council to strongly consider, and approve the 2022 budget as submitted knowing that the needs of the community will be met in a prudent, respectful fashion. Thank you for serving as a city councilmember and being a council that works together for the benefit of Enumclaw.
In closing I wish to thank all city employees for their hard work and dedication to the city as old and new challenges continue to enter the work place. Every one of you make this community function daily with incredible commitment.
Thank you to the many citizens that serve and volunteer on the numerous commissions and boards. Without you stepping up to assist your local government we would not be able to proceed with decisions that affect our city.
To each non-profit entity and volunteers that have been experiencing longer hours in assisting others, a huge thank you. It must be said that once again your work is needed more than ever.
It is my desire to continue the goal of providing the highest level of core services with efficient spending to the citizens of Enumclaw. And with the Budget of 2022 I feel that has been accomplished.
May the coming 2022 not be so cross.