Brian Coddington, Communications Director, 509.625.6740
Monday, October 4, 2021 at 4:22 p.m.
Mayor Nadine Woodward’s preliminary draft 2022 priority-based budget prioritizes funding for public safety, homelessness, housing, and economic development and maintains core service levels while balancing ongoing revenue impacts caused by the pandemic.
Woodward proposed increased spending on investments in police officer training, an in-field partnership between officers and behavioral health specialists, reducing wait times for police public records requests, supporting victims of violent crime and human trafficking, additional downtown and neighborhood cleanup resources, and staffing to support decreasing residential permit times and increases in housing supply. She also proposed organizational investments in diversity, equity, and inclusion, public access to government, and prioritizing and enhancing cyber security needs.
“We have taken a cautious and thoughtful approach to spending to meet service expectations while being realistic about the continuing revenue impacts resulting from the pandemic,” Woodward said in announcing the budget draft. “The investments you see are strategic, modest, and in many cases a first step.
Revenue projections for 2022 provide mixed news. While the nearly $215.6 million in forecasted revenue for the General Fund represents a 5.9 percent increase over currently projected 2021 revenue, it is still $5.3 million short of the pre-COVID revenue trend.
Woodward will continue work on the budget over the next few weeks to release a final proposed budget on November 1. That will include continuing discussions with the City Council to work further on common priorities and remaining open items and talk about funding strategies that are consistent with organizational budgeting principles that assign one time money only to one-time expenses and living within the City’s means.
She will focus in particular on a handful of key discussion points, including further refinement of allocations to homelessness resources, sustainable fire dispatch operations, and protecting City finances from continued pandemic impact, and strategic uses of federal pandemic relief funds to cover one-time City needs or bridge funding gaps.