Lake Forest Park City Council overrides Mayor's veto and adopts budget

Saturday, November 29, 2014

After Lake Forest Park Mayor Goss vetoed the budget passed by the LFP City Council (LFP Mayor vetoes property tax and budget ordinances), the LFP City Council held a special meeting Friday night to review their options and finalize the budget. Today the Council issued the following statement:

Lake Forest Park City Council Adopts 2015 Budget with Consecutive Unanimous Votes

On Friday, November 28, 2014, the Lake Forest Park City Council voted unanimously to override Wednesday's veto of the 2015 budget. The council budget originally passed unanimously on Monday, November 24th and carried the council's commitment of developing a balanced and sustainable budget for the community of 13,000 residents. The council reconvened Friday evening to address a veto of the budget by Mayor Mary Jane Goss.

The Council built the budget based on revenue projections from city administration and focused budget priorities on timely investments for the City’s sustainable future, specifically environmental efforts in the form of stream restoration; transportation; strategic planning; and community vitality.  

"This budget positions Lake Forest Park to begin transitioning from simply surviving to thriving," stated Council Chair and Deputy Mayor Catherine Stanford. 

The council did not anticipate a budget veto having used the financial assumptions in the Mayor's proposed budget. However, a mathematical error on property tax assumptions was discovered by city staff in mid November. It was included in the city's financial estimates that originated at least three years ago, and carried in the last two adopted budgets. The total impact of the error was somewhere between $7,000 and $15,000 in historical banked capacity. Responding to questions from the Council, City Attorney Kim Adams Pratt confirmed that the mathematical error did not affect the council’s current decision, nor did it exceed council's authority to consider how to address the error in the 2016 budget cycle.

“This is a responsible budget. It is forward-thinking and makes investments in the priorities that the citizens of LFP have identified as essential to our vibrancy,” stated LFP Councilmember Tom French, Budget and Finance Committee Co-Chair.

Most notably at Friday's city council meeting was the continued cohesion of the council members working as an effective government body, and keeping their commitments for balanced, sustainable, transparent and clear information in the development and adoption of the 2015 budget.

LFP Council Vice Chair Jeff Johnson said, "I am proud of this budget."

"While the 2015 balanced budget will not solve all of our financial challenges in the future, it lays a solid foundation for the council, the administration and the people of Lake Forest Park to work together, understand the issues and make choices together," commented LFP Councilmember John Resha, Budget and Finance Committee Co-Chair.

Cities in King County are required to file adopted budgets and estimated tax collections by November 30.

BACKGROUND

The Lake Forest Park City Council initiated the 2015/2016 biennial budget development process early in 2014 starting with the Budget and Finance Committee’s review of existing financial policies and recommendations to update policies. One substantive policy change adopted by the council increased the City’s General Fund’s fund balance policy from 10% to 12%. This resulted in an increase of $158,000 in reserve funds.

Key changes to the 2015 budget policies include:
  • Action to decrease accidents and increase the safety of the community, especially our children, on our streets and walkways; this action also increases future revenues by an estimated $250,000 per year.
  • Establishment of two strategic goals to one, return salmon to our creeks, and taking the first steps to understand the related costs of culvert failure; and two, realize a diverse multi-modal transportation system, so that we are not solely dependent upon cars for all of our mobility needs.
  • One-time funding for the strategic goals noted above so that we can develop project lists for the future that will allow us to plan and prioritize going into the next biennium.
  • $100,000 of matching funds for grants to begin supporting these goals through partnerships.
  • Funding to support the development of a City strategic plan, including training for the staff and administration.
  • Increased seasonal staff support for our parks.
  • A task force process and funding to support the identity and vitality of the city.


2 comments:

Anonymous,  November 29, 2014 at 9:59 PM  

When you say "action", you really mean "install more traffic cameras". Why not be clear in your communication? If traffic cameras are such a good idea, why don't you install them everywhere in Lake Forest Park? Seriously - let's just put them everywhere. It will be great. Increased safety and revenue.

Anonymous,  November 30, 2014 at 11:09 PM  

Other cities are removing traffic cameras after years of use

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