Blaine City Council approves 2017 budget

During a regular meeting on December 12, Blaine City Council voted unanimously to approve the budget for the coming year.

The now-approved budget plan for 2017 totals $38,206,515. In 2015, the city approved a budget totaling $35,734,783 for the 2016 fiscal year. Blaine finance director Jeff Lazenby said the city expects both general fund revenues and expenditures to increase by 1 percent in 2017.

The budget accounts for new hires approved in 2016, plus the addition of a Blaine police officer, which Lazenby said is paid for from a combination of savings and reductions in the 2017 police budget.

Next year also marks the last year in which portions of property tax revenue will be used to pay a 10-year bond used for street improvements in Blaine. The bond amounts to $6.8 million with interest and will be paid off in December 2017.

City staff also encouraged the establishment of a task force during the coming year to review city services, revenues and expenditures, capital projects and facility needs in alignment with the city’s recent initiative to develop a strategic economic plan. Lazenby said the task force could be the platform to propose a funding-based ballot initiative as early as the August 2017 primary election.

On Monday, city councilmembers also approved an amendment that appropriates an additional $192,000 to the 2016 budget. A large amount of that sum, totaling $190,000, is a result from a project bid amount exceeding estimated budget costs. Funding will be taken from the water capital reserve to pay for the installation and furnishing of a turbine pump into an existing well. The remaining $2,000 comes from city staff travel expenses.

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