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Budget breakdown: infrastructure and growth, responsible government

Editor’s note: This is the third 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 three will focus on infrastructure and growth and responsible government.

After reviewing City of Redmond Mayor John Marchione’s Budgeting by Priorities (BP) proposal for 2013-14 in twice-weekly study sessions, Redmond City Council is scheduled to adapt the proposed budget on Dec. 4.

The budget was first presented to council in October and in addition to their input, the public also had the opportunity to provide feedback during public hearings throughout the process.

The last public hearing regarding the budget was held Tuesday.

The new two-year budget is $581.5 million — a slight increase from the 2011-12 budget.

City staff used the BP process for the third time to create the budget. This was the third time they have used this process, in which 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.

INFRASTRUCTURE AND GROWTH

At $250.04 million, infrastructure and growth is about 43 percent of the city’s overall budget.

This priority covers a number of things including the city’s utilities such as waste, water and stormwater.

“They’re not the ‘sexy’ things,” said Redmond Public Works Director Tim Fuller. “(But) they’re critical to the city.”

Fuller said a lot of the work under infrastructure and growth involves maintaining and replacing infrastructure throughout the city as it gets older, adding that much of this takes place underground where citizens can’t see it.

“We have to pay attention to the aging infrastructure, as well as the new infrastructure,” he said.

Fuller said another part of this maintenance is keeping up with new technology and products when building new infrastructure. One example of this is using a permeable ground surface to collect and filter rainwater before it enters the groundwater.

In addition to everyday maintenance, infrastructure and growth also includes construction projects — a big one coming up being the Cleveland Street/Redmond Way conversions to two-way streets.

Assistant Director of Public Works Ron Grant said this project has a number of components including the 164th Avenue Northeast extension from Northeast 76th Street to Cleveland Street.

“We plan to have the 164th extension…open by next year (2013),” Grant said.

Another component is the Cleveland Streetscape project, which includes signal improvements, sidewalks, on-street parking, street lighting, utilities and landscaping.

Grant said this will set the stage for the vibe the city would like for its downtown urban area.

He added that while a lot of new development is set for downtown and Overlake as they have been designated urban areas within the city, they have not forgotten the remaining neighborhoods. Grant said the city has a number of programs to maintain the infrastructure throughout the city.

RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT

Responsible government makes up 16 percent of the city’s total budget with $93.04 million.

“It’s all the basic nuts and bolts stuff,” said Jeri Rowe-Curtis, chief policy adviser and communications and marketing administrator for the city.

She said a lot of responsible government has to do with community involvement and engagement and the city’s openness and transparency.

This includes the City Council structure, council meeting minutes and the city’s cable television channel RCTV.

In addition, the city holds various citizen academies, public meetings and hearings and allows citizen involvement on various city committees, as well as in the BP process.

“There’s a way to get involved if you want to get involved,” Rowe-Curtis said.

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