Task force to weigh in on city budget

By Stefanie Donahue

About a dozen community stakeholders have formed a short-term revenue task force to take an in-depth look at the city budget and offer recommendations to Blaine City Council.

The group grew out of the Blaine Economic Development Advisory Committee (BEDAC), which is made up of members who advise and assist the city council on matters related to the economy and local business climate.

The task force combines expertise from the BEDAC committee as well as other stakeholders from the community, including representatives from the city, Semiahmoo Resort Association, Blaine school district and Blaine Police Department, among others.

Serving as a city representative to the BEDAC committee, city manager Dave Wilbrecht said the task force was created after a challenging budget process in the fall of 2016. The task force will provide the type of community direction the city is looking for as part of its effort to evaluate expenditures and develop options to generate revenue in the 2018 budget, he said.

“Well-financed cities do great things,” Wilbrecht said.

May 2 marked the first meeting for the task force, which is expected to remain active only through the end of the month, Wilbrecht said. Once members have a handle on the city’s budget and have had a chance to take a close look at the options, they’ll complete a recommendation on ways to generate revenue by the end of the month, likely by Tuesday, May 23.

The task force is intended to advance the city’s Strategic Economic Initiative, which is led in partnership with La Conner-based Beckwith Consulting. Ultimately, their recommendations will help guide the city council as they attempt to fund projects identified by residents through surveys and community meetings.

The revenue task force will meet from 3 to 5 p.m. at Blaine City Hall, located at 435 Martin Street, suite 4000. The next meeting which is open to the public takes place on Tuesday, May 16. To view an overview of the city’s budget and operations, visit bit.ly/2q0zsDw.

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