Two months ago, the city of Mercer Island began recruiting volunteers willing to help explore how to balance future budgets. While the 2017-2018 budget has been temporarily balanced using a one-time surplus, the city is projecting significant deficits starting in 2019 and needs community input on meeting this financial challenge, according to a news release.
The city received many applications for its Community Advisory Group (CAG), and is pleased to name the 24 final appointees: Lisa Anderl, Nikki Baidwan, Jason Baumgarten, Heather Cartwright, Doris Cassan, Donna Colosky, Jon Conradt, Jim Eanes, Rand Ginn, Susan Griesse, Bob Harper, Jonathan Harrington, Tim Hunkapiller, El Jahnke, Elaine Kavalok, Amy Lavin, Jodi McCarthy, Leslie Meagley, Terry Moreman, Craig Reynolds, John Scherzo, Alison Stovall, Brian Thomas and Kwan Wong.
“The Island is fortunate to have so many talented and highly qualified residents willing to devote so much time to this process. It was very difficult to narrow the Community Advisory Group to just 24 participants,” said City Manager Julie Underwood.
The group will meet once a month for five months, starting with a Nov. 15 kickoff, to review in-depth financial data, discuss the challenges and solutions and provide a recommendation. Meetings will be widely advertised and open to all.
All candidates were interviewed by an independent consultant, then evaluated by the city’s senior leadership team to ensure a broad and diverse pool, including factors such as: home neighborhood, duration of residency, age, gender, ethnicity, work and volunteer experience, technical expertise, children in school, etc.
The city launched a series of community meetings in October to start providing all residents with information about the city’s financial challenges and funding options. The first general public opportunity to get involved was via a Telephone Town Hall on Oct. 11, in which more than 250 residents participated.
To keep track of all public meetings and discussions, read about the history of this issue, view budget documents, or browse an extensive FAQ, see www.mercergov.org/FinancialChallenges.