Shortened revenues and shifting community needs will make the Redmond budget season unlike years past.
Redmond, like much of the U.S., is facing never-before-seen challenges on all fronts as staff work to create a budget proposal for the next two years.
Mayor Angela Birney presented the proposed 2021-2022 biennial budget on Oct. 6. In a letter to the Redmond City Council and city community, she stated the recommendations in the budget were produced through Civics Result team of 30 Redmond volunteers, questionnaires, focus groups and public hearings. The recommendations invested in were: focus on the COVID-19 recovery; maintain core services, reallocate funds to invest further in diversity and inclusion, the Environmental Sustainability plan, and human services for vulnerable Redmond populations; maintain critical infrastructure for light rail, buildings and utilities; and enhance traffic safety.
The city forecasts that revenues from taxes and fees will decline by $6.3 million in 2020, with expenses outpacing revenues starting in 2021, depleting the fund balance each year through 2026. In light of the economic hardships anticipated in the city, the budget cuts 26 full time positions from the 2020 staffing, including almost 10 Parks Department positions, eight capital investment, utilities and development services staff positions, and four vacant police or fire services staff positions. Some of those positions were also removed due this year as they were unnecessary during the shut downs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to budget documents, the reductions being made in this budget will not be as far reaching as the 2009 recession thanks to continuing property tax revenues. The city also predicts increased revenues with Link extension to downtown Redmond, and development of the Microsoft campus. Similar to other Eastside cities, tech employers put the city in a strong position for recovery.
There will be two more opportunities for residents to get involved and have a voice in shaping the uncertain future of the city, including budget cuts, with the 2021-2022 biennial budget public hearings on Oct. 20 and Nov. 2.
The full proposed budget and budget timeline is available at redmond.gov/Budget.