From the Mayor's Introduction to the 2011 Budget:
October 15, 2010

To the Honorable City Council members and Residents of Enumclaw:
I present to you the 2011 annual budget. The budget is a balanced budget that strives to preserve basic core services in a time of great economic uncertainty for our city government as well as for Enumclaw residents and businesses. Over the past year, the dramatic effects of the downturn in the national and state economies have become quite evident in our city -- job loss, home foreclosures, business failure, reductions in business and personal spending, and a cessation of new construction. Though estimates vary, prevailing state and Puget Sound economic forecasts do not predict a noticeable up-turn in the economy until mid-2012 at the earliest. Thus, 2011 will undoubtedly prove to be another challenging year.

For several years now, the city's expenditures have outpaced revenues. This differential cannot be sustained much longer. Information presented earlier this year during the fire annexation feasibility study process and at the city council budget workshop, depicted the city's general fund going insolvent in 2012. This looming reality forms the backdrop of the 2011 budget.

Cognizant of this reality, shortly after I took office, I asked that all city departments review the way that they conduct business through an examination of the processes, programming, expenditures and revenue particular to their operations. Found were a number of cost savings and efficiencies. These savings were instrumental in preserving a reasonable 2010 ending fund balance, and marked a new way of doing business. Once that I was convinced a strong effort had been made toward creating a more efficient organization, only then did I turn my attention to the task of making a series of difficult decisions to close a general fund gap of approximately $600,000.

Though much of the budget focus is typically on the city's general fund, other funds, namely the utilities have their own set of fiscal challenges. These include but are not limited to insufficient operating fund balances, capital reserves, and a backlog of capital projects. Long term utility planning needs to commence in 2011 so that rates can be smoothed over time, capital projects can be accomplished, and when needed, bond or other financing at rates commensurate with a healthy bond rating can be obtained.

The 2011 budget is built on conservative revenue projections that reflect local economic conditions and forecasts, and on expenditure reductions that prioritize core public services over discretionary or nonessential spending. These prioritizations will significantly affect the levels of service at the library and parks, and curtail the funding for a variety of community services provided via partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and other non-profit groups.

Though at times this year has been tough due to the loss of employees in 2010, I am very proud of the effort exhibited by staff. With limited resources and great determination they continued to provide excellent services to our citizens and at the same time accomplished a number of much needed projects. Despite the challenges at hand, I am confident that they will do so again in 2011.

There is much to be accomplished in 2011. There are union contracts to negotiate, a new health care plan to choose, a discussion and possible action on library services, annexations and long term land use planning, construction of the Welcome Center, redevelopment of Garrett Street, and the continued search for efficiencies. And, as always, the provision of excellent city services.

I also look forward to another year of serving the great citizens of Enumclaw.

Warm Regards,
Liz Reynolds
Mayor of Enumclaw

If you have questions about the Budget , please contact Finance Director Stephanie McKenzie at 360-615-5629 or by email.