To the citizens of Enumclaw and Enumclaw City Council Members,
The process to develop our city’s budget was again started on July 1 of 2022. Each department head worked diligently to calculate revenue streams and expenses for their respective departments and then inputted that information into our city budget format. It was revamped a few times as different data was received from the state, county and within the city itself. The final version was completed and then reviewed by city administration before dispersing out to the public and city council members.
Every year the budget process creates its own unique challenges, which staff must overcome to get to a balanced budget. Both revenues and expenditures need to find that critical balance to be able to maintain city services at its top performance while making sure citizen’s tax dollars are wisely spent. This budget year for 2023 was no different than in past budgets that have been prepared. How best to anticipate tax revenue knowing that a recession could be on the verge of occurring in early 2023 or sooner. How to keep a moderate increase of expenses while providing a competitive environment for the city to maintain a talented staff through all departments.
Challenges that were met.
I must say that each department head and city administration had a task but were able to get the 2023 budget pared down to a very workable number that does not put a strain onto the city reserves while at the same time approving most requests presented to the city. In fact, reserves increased again this year in anticipation of an economic downturn which would be needed to be drawn from if sales tax revenue decreases due to less purchases at the city’s local businesses. This approach has served the city budget well over the last few years and continuing this approach I feel is prudent considering the potential slow down and loss of revenue which could jeopardize the city and how it would need to operate.
With the anticipated 2023 slow down, it is my hope that our city can weather the storm as we did through the trying months of COVID. Valuable staff were retained without layoffs and the talent retained provided our team with the strength to provide services our community expects. City administration will continue to monitor and wrestle with our revenue and expenditures in the approaching months and challenge ourselves to be nimble in case the inflation rate is not brought under a controllable situation at the federal level. This review by the city will allow us to pivot and make adjustments to maintain the integrity of our finances. It will not be the only time financial balances will be discussed. A continual check is expected and will be executed. As continued high inflation rates will result in increased expenditures and reduced tax revenue in my opinion. Let us hope in 2023 there is minimal impact to our community that occurs and services to the city continues uninterrupted.
Mayor Jan Molinaro