City of Arlington presents 2010 budget

ARLINGTON — The mayor presented a “bare bones budget” to the City Council on Monday, Nov. 16.

Approximately $1.8 million was cut from Mayor Margaret Larson’s proposed 2010 budget due to current and projected revenue shortfalls, according to a letter written by Larson.

The $66.7 million budget accounts for 15 full-time city positions that have either been eliminated or kept unstaffed to make up the city budget shortfall, said Larson in the letter.

“This is has been the most difficult budget to prepare for the city for as long as I can remember,” Larson wrote. “Simply put, this 2010 budget is a bare bones budget that funds essential services only.”

The budget includes a $10.79 million general fund to pay for the city’s fire, police and other departments. The majority of the fund comes from property, sales and utility taxes, which have declined in nearly all city agencies across the country.

An $18.8 million operating fund to run the city’s airport, cemetery, emergency management services, utilities, storm water and recycling services has been proposed by the mayor.

The largest portion of the 2010 budget comes from the city’s proposed $34.3 million capital improvement budget, which includes $17.4 million for the new waste water treatment facility.

The majority of the capital improvement funds comes from federal grants and low-interest loans, as well as airport and utility revenues and real estate taxes.

The remaining $2.8 million in the budget is devoted to debt service payments and reserve fund balances.

In Larson’s letter, the mayor points out that she has been proud of the city’s recent construction projects, and wrote that she wants to continue focusing on economic development in Arlington.

“On a daily basis we remind our employees that customer service is paramount and economic development is every employee’s business,” Larson wrote.

Larson also included a list of construction, transportation and utility projects that the city is planning on completing in 2010. Most of the items will be funded by federal and state loans, she wrote.

City of Arlington spokeswoman Kristin Banfield said the balanced budget has not come without a certain amount of pain.

In October, projected revenue shortfalls caused city department heads to recommend voluntary layoffs for eight city employees. Three more employees were let go earlier this month to help the city make up for its $1.8 million projected shortfall.

“A lot of work by departments has resulted in us digging deep into our budgets,” Banfield said. “We’re cutting things that are important and looking else where to explore every funding avenue.”

The City Council is slated to adopted the budget Dec. 7.

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