Council reviews proposed budget

ARLINGTON The Arlington City Council met Oct. 8 to review the proposed preliminary draft 2008 budget, during which city of Arlington Finance Director Kathy Peterson and Arlington City Administrator Allen Johnson addressed their concerns.
Peterson informed Council member Marilyn Oertle that the draft budget retains the same level of funding for parks and recreation as the previous budget, but Oertle noted that this draft budget includes no allocations for arts funding. Peterson and Public Works Director Len Olive also admitted that stormwater fees still need a built-in increase to accommodate inflation.
While nine new full-time employees were requested for 2008, at a total cost of $453,563, only two new full-time and one part-time position were recommended in the draft budget. A Utilities geographic information system position and stormwater technician are recommended full-time, while an additional five-month seasonal parks maintenance worker is recommended part-time.
The projected revenues for the current expense fund in 2008 add up to $11,570,361, an increase of $1,007,298 or 9 percent more than the 2007 budget. Those revenue increases include $77,004 in property taxes, $509,713 in sales tax, $469,586 in business taxes, a $91,699 transfer from the Arlington Municipal Airport for a second airport resource officer, and $55,000 from the Arlington School District for half the cost of the emergency management coordinator.
Of those increased current expense fund revenues, $181,584 is allocated to estimated 2008 cost-of-living adjustments, $176,251 to an estimated increase in 2008 health insurance benefits, $91,699 to pick up funding for the narcotics task force officer, $231,232 to the 2008 police services plan recommended in 2007, $117,000 to cover the increased costs of jail, prisoner board, court-appointed attorneys and prosecutors, $86,897 to the new firefighter position hired in 2007, $110,000 to the emergency management coordinator and $12,000 to the existing five-month parks maintenance worker.
The draft budgets expenses include $100,000 in funding for economic development, the same as in 2007, and a request for $162,680 in computer replacements, equipment and new technology upgrades, among all city departments, of which only $64,813 is currently funded. Among the capital projects included in the draft budget are $2,748,500 in water capital projects, $6,020,000 in sewer capital projects, $2,055,709 in airport projects with $1.55 million of grant funds anticipated and $25,000 for storm water projects.
A number of parks projects are financed from grant and mitigation fees, such as $15,000 for Terrace Park, $17,494 for projects to be determined by the city, and $940,315 for Graafstra park, carried forward from 2007, which assumes a $400,000 grant.
The new program requests submitted included $724,736 in the current expense fund and $548,915 from all other departments. Because of this, Johnson emphasized that only a limited number of such requests can be funded. While the draft budget continues the citys historic annual allocation of $15,000 to the Stillaguamish Senior Center, the center has requested an additional $5,000 in funding for 2008, which the draft budget requests that the Council review.
A number of requested items remain under review by the Council, including vehicles and equipment for the citys police and fire departments. Of those, two of four requested patrol car replacements are included, at $112,000, as are $13,500 in firefighting self-contained breathing apparatuses and $25,000 in fire bunker gear.

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