Budget breakdown: public safety, community building
By SAMANTHA PAK
Redmond Reporter Reporter
November 2, 2012 · 10:38 AM
Editor’s note: This is the first of a three-part series examining Redmond Mayor John Marchione’s 2013-14 Budget by Priorities proposal. The budget contains six priorities: public safety, community building, infrastructure and growth, clean and green environment, business vitality and responsible government. Part one will focus on public safety and community building.
Redmond City Council is scheduled to adopt Mayor John Marchione’s proposed budget for the 2013-14 biennium on Dec. 4 and is in the middle of reviewing the Budgeting by Priorities (BP) proposal in twice-weekly study sessions.
Marchione first presented his budget mid-October and in addition to council input, the public also has the opportunity to provide feedback during a public meeting scheduled later this month on Nov. 20.
The new two-year budget is $581.5 million — a slight increase from the 2011-12 budget — and includes the city’s operation budget and capital fund.
While creating the budget, city staff used the BP process for the third time. Through this process, city services are reconsidered through the prism of what citizens value most. Six priorities were determined by citizens in 2008 during the initial BP process.
Public safety consists of 24 percent of the total budget, with a total dollar amount of $139.56 million — three-quarters of which is employee salary, benefits and compensation.
This priority funds a number of departments including police and fire, as well as planning.
Redmond Police Chief Ron Gibson said the city prosecutor and public defender’s offices also fall under the safety priority — as does animal care, control and licensing.
Gibson said one of the things their budget covers in the Redmond Police Department (RPD) is equipment, which includes the department’s fleet of vehicles. He said police cars are typically replaced once they reach 100,000 miles.
City of Redmond Finance Director Mike Bailey said there are some cities that have not been able to do this and stay current on replacing city vehicles due to budget cuts.
Gibson said two new positions have been added to the upcoming biennium’s public safety budget. Both of these positions address emergency management in the city. One position is focused on educating and preparing citizens for emergency situations. The other position’s focus is internal and how to keep the city government up and running during a disaster.
Community building consists of 5 percent of Redmond’s total budget, with a total dollar amount of $29.05 million.
Redmond Parks and Recreation Director Craig Larsen said this priority includes city-wide events such as Redmond Lights, Derby Days and Eggstravaganza. A large part of community building is the programs and classes offered at the Redmond Senior Center, Old Schoolhouse Community Center and Old Fire House Teen Center.
In addition, Larsen said the city also offers programs in a number of local schools.
“We’re all over the city,” he said.
Larsen said taking the programs to schools is a recent development and the move has been a “huge hit” because there are some teens who do not have the means of transportation to get to the teen center.
The city has also worked with outside organizations to bring a variety of events and activities for citizens to enjoy such as the annual Ananda Mela festival in the summer and the three-part performance by Lucia Neare’s Theatrical Wonders.
“We’re way past a tradition parks and recreation (department),” Larsen said.
With the new budget, he said they have eliminated one manager position in the recreation department. This position has been vacant for some time and Larsen said they are not going to fill it and just get rid of it completely.
For more information about Redmond’s budget, visit www.redmond.gov/bp.Contact Redmond Reporter Reporter Samantha Pak at email@example.com or 425-867-0353, ext. 5052.