Blaine city council will soon vote on the city’s 2020 budget, which is expected to total $54.2 million, representing a three percent increase from the 2019 budget.
The 2020 budget proposal is subject to final approval by councilmembers at their public meeting on Monday, December 9. The preliminary $54.2 million budget is comprised of an operating budget, which covers day-to-day expenses required to deliver services to residents, and a capital budget used for long-term investments like infrastructure and facilities.
“The 2020 budget is fairly status quo,” said Jeffrey Lazenby, the city of Blaine’s finance director.
At the November 12 city council meeting, a public hearing was held regarding the 2020 budget, but no Blaine residents offered public testimony at that time. The public hearing was continued to the November 25 city council meeting, with no testimony given.
“The budget continues to fund top city priorities such as economic development, including allocating staff time to foster economic development programs and strategies,” Lazenby said at the November 12 meeting. “It continues to allocate resources to public safety, in particular implementing a police fleet replacement program in 2020.”
Lazenby continued: “[The budget] focuses on maintaining city infrastructure and capital improvements for streets, electric, water, sewer and stormwater, and there is continued emphasis on parks and facilities maintenance, ensuring that our city’s recreational facilities and office buildings are in safe and operating condition.”
Some major capital highlights of the 2020 budget include electric utilities such as power line upgrades; water infrastructure improvements such as water line replacements and well pump replacements and upgrades; wastewater improvements to lift stations; continuation of the east Blaine extension project; and completion of the Gateway stormwater pond project.
City-provided utilities make up the largest proportional share of the budget based on dollars spent. Of the general fund budget, which is part of the operating budget, the largest proportional share goes to law enforcement.
Lazenby noted that the city faces a number of budget challenges, including keeping up with transportation infrastructure needs; limited funding from local, state and federal sources; and fluctuations in revenues tied to the level of cross-border activity, such as sales tax revenue and the gas tax.