Lisa Gardner, City Council Communications Director, 509.625.6226
Thursday, November 3, 2022 at 6:04 p.m.
During Thursday’s City Council Study Session, Council Members discussed the Mayor’s 2023 Proposed Budget. Council Members were presented with an overview of the budget by the City’s Chief Financial Officer, Tonya Wallace. Council discussed specific concerns such as Fire/Police Overtime, the projected depletion of the City’s financial reserves, the status of employment vacancies, concerns about 1590 funds utilized for Trent Resource and Assistance Center (TRAC), and the use of remaining ARPA funds.
On October 17th, Council passed Resolution 2022-0094, laying out priorities for the 2023 budget that included at least a 10 percent reduction in general fund expenses. The Administration’s proposed budget does not include that requested reduction, nor any of the other Council requests for a sustainable budget. Additionally, Council has concerns that there is no identified funding source for additional police officers or police vehicles.
“City Council set out a blueprint for creating a sustainable City budget and will now sit down to fill the gaps in the current proposal,” said City Council President Breean Beggs. “This is my seventh year putting together a City budget, and although there are always hard choices to be made, I am confident that we will again fund essential services without unduly depleting our savings account while keeping an eye toward a sustainable future for the next Mayor and City Council.”
Council is adamant about being fiscally conservative with the 2023 budget, focusing on funding core city government functions, but willing to make strategic adjustments to city services. The council is concerned that the city is headed for a fiscal cliff and wants to be practical yet firm in a solution for the budget.
“I appreciate the Administration’s work in preparing the 2023 proposed budget and recognize the numerous improvements which increase the City’s ability to support residents,” said Finance and Administration Co-Chair Council Member Michael Cathcart. “Still, to meet this pivotal moment, the Administration and Council must do more for the long-term protection and investment in public safety, revenue, recovery, and stability. After years of pandemic-related hardship, the impending recession, and long-term systemic challenges such as supply chain issues, inflation, taxes, energy and fuel costs, and many more economic concerns, providing a resilient and sustainable long-term budget is crucial to avoiding more difficult situations down the road potentially putting key priorities such as public safety at risk. We need to make crucial decisions now that will strengthen the City's financial position next year and in future budgets.”
Over the next few weeks Council will consider feedback and any additional information from the public and the Administration to craft a final budget memo which will be enacted as an amendment to the pending budget proposal no later than December 12th.
Council will have a public hearing of the Proposed Budget during the Monday, November 7th Legislative Session at 6:00 pm and is open for public viewing via live stream on Spokane’s CityCable5 https://my.spokanecity.org/citycable5/live/ or via Spokane City Council’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/spokanecitycouncil