By Steve Guntli
Blaine City Council is maintaining financial status quo with its 2015 budget.
At the December 8 general meeting, the council voted 7–0 to approve the new budget totaling $36,278,220, a 1 percent increase over the 2014 budget.
Coming off a relatively strong financial year, city council members opted to follow a conservative budget plan, with very few modifications. Blaine finance director Jeffrey Lazenby said the new budget was designed to reflect the growth levels and trends from 2014.
Finance officials expect general revenue to increase by 2 percent while expenses will increase by 4 percent over last year.
Blaine police chief Mike Haslip requested a number of line items that were not included in the original iterations of the budget. These include a new patrol vehicle, upgrades to the police station’s evidence space, computer system upgrades and the completion of the office’s kitchen, which was started in 1996 but canceled due to budget cuts.
The new line items did not require any council action. Haslip requested the council keep the department’s needs in mind when considering funding projects and requesting grants in the new year.
The council also approved a suggestion from staff to amend the 2014 budget. The city had allocated $80,000 for repairs to the elevators in the Banner Bank building, based on early estimates from the contractor. The project wound up costing closer to $120,000. The city had sufficient revenue to cover the additional cost in the fund; the council passed the amendment 7–0.
For detailed information on the 2015 budget, visit ci.blaine.wa.us.