Revenue task force closer to issuing recommendation

After taking an in-depth look at Blaine’s budget, the city’s short-term revenue task force voted to approve a draft recommendation for the Blaine City Council on ways to generate revenue in the 2018 budget.

During their final meeting on May 30, the group of about a dozen community stakeholders approved the draft as part of  the ongoing Strategic Economic Initiative. City staff will present a more detailed version of the recommendation to Blaine City Council on Monday, June 26.

The task force combines expertise from the Blaine Economic Development Advisory Committee (BEDAC) 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. The group had a total of five meetings before approving the draft.

Ultimately, members advised that the council maintain existing general fund revenue, avoid adding a business and occupation tax or increasing utility taxes and pursue an “aggressive economic development program,” which could include hiring a consultant/business recruiter, among other things.

Unless the city takes action, budget estimates project the city’s expenditures will exceed revenues by 2020, according to the task force. In recent years, the city has made drastic cuts to maintain a balanced budget and is now funding daily operations with reserves.

“Blaine is on the precipice of something great. You can see that driving through town,” said Eric Davidson, a longtime Blaine resident and member of the task force. “Bringing businesses and people to Blaine will help fund city services that we want and need. But, we need revenue now to meet the service expectations of business and residents alike.”

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