Kailan Manandic / staff photo                                 The city council took a preliminary step toward developing a fiscal sustainability plan at the April 16 meeting.

Kailan Manandic / staff photo The city council took a preliminary step toward developing a fiscal sustainability plan at the April 16 meeting.

City council reviewed fiscal sustainability plan options

Currently, city staff are examining the options to determine what is feasible for the city.

The Mercer Island City Council reviewed the latest draft overview of different strategies for an eventual fiscal sustainability plan to help balance the city budget in the long-term.

Management Partners, a professional management consulting firm specializing in helping local government leaders improve operations, presented about 22 strategies at the April 16 general meeting that the city could potentially implement to avoid a multi-million dollar deficit.

“The council asked for staff to evaluate the strategies that have been suggested by the outside consultant,” city manager Julie Underwood said. “There are a number of expenditure reduction strategies as well as service delivery model changes.”

The firm pointed out that if the council were to take no action, which is not being considered as an option, the city would see an annual deficit of $4.8 million by fiscal year 2024, the general fund would be depleted by Dec. 31, 2023, and the city would likely default on its pension and debt obligations and would then have to consider bankruptcy protection.

The review is a preliminary step toward balancing the city’s budget which has been a struggle since Proposition 1 failed to pass last November. The entire presentation is available online at the city’s website.

City workers are now reviewing the numerous options presented and deciding which are feasible for the city to implement. The tentative timeline is for Underwood to come back to the council in June with the possible options they’ve found.

The city also plans to seek public opinion throughout the planning process. Initially, the city plans to focus on online feedback for a potential fiscal sustainability plan and eventually move to public hearings next fall.

“The summer months tend to be pretty busy for a lot of families,” Underwood said. “We will be doing more of an online engagement over the summer and then starting this fall really kick up the face-to-face engagement.”

Underwood added the goal will be to gauge what services residents can live without and how the city can do the most it can for as many residents it can given the budget it has.

The city employed Management Partners last year as a third-party consultant to review financial projections by the finance department. The firm also presented pathways to grow the city’s contingency fund, or “Rainy Day Fund,” which the city hopes to equal the good practices standard, a minimum of two-months of the annual general fund budget.

The city council will discuss the overview and implementation plan at its May 21 meeting and June 21 planning session.

“My biggest ask of the community is to be engaged and involved in the services and the service level they want delivered to them,” Underwood said.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@mi-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.mi-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

[flipp]

More in News

t
Dancing away at ‘CAR-nival’

Kids flow through pop-up classes from Creation Dance Studio at the Mercer… Continue reading

t
Vermillion will speak at Rotary meeting on June 22

Allecia Vermillion, executive editor of Seattle Met, will speak at the Rotary… Continue reading

King County logo
Auditors find racial disparities in King County contracts

BIPOC-owned businesses earn contract bids at a much lower rate than white-owned businesses.

t
Mercer Island Marine Patrol floats information regarding boat safety

Sergeant Chad Schumacher discusses the do’s and don’ts of water activity.

t
President Biden responds to letters local kindergartners penned to him

Stroum Jewish Community Center students receive surprise.

t
Hello Summer Kids Art Contest on tap through July 8

Young artists age 17 and under can submit their artwork showing their… Continue reading

t
Zorn discusses life lessons at Covenant Living at the Shores

Jim Zorn, former Seahawks quarterback and Mercer Island resident, spoke at a… Continue reading

Most Read