Franklin’s 2020 budget for Everett has to outpace rising costs
Tribune staff photo
Mayor Cassie Franklin during her 2020 Budget Address on Wednesday, Oct. 30.
EVERETT — Mayor Cassie Franklin’s proposed budget for 2020 continues to work on clamping down the built-in costs in running a city without eroding its core functions.
The budget “is balanced, responsible and supports the important services the city provides to its residents and businesses,” Franklin said while delivering her budget address on Wednesday, Oct. 30.
The budget has no layoffs, incorporates no new taxes and, according to the city,
jettisons no public programs.
The Police Department is practically fully staffed, and Franklin announced she will outlay a plan this spring to enlarge the Police Department to be staffed at pre-Recession levels with a minimum of two officers for every 1,000 residents. There are 206 officers budgeted today, so this goal would enlarge the department by about 20 officers.
The city will conduct a pilot program having some officers wear body cameras, and the department plans to add a motorcycle patrol officer.
The budget continues to invest in social outreach programs.
It was also announced that the city would like to add murals around town as a tool in placemaking, a method to giving cities
distinct aesthetic touches, and Everett is seeking to be named a Creative District, a designation by the state.
Franklin also highlighted a student internship program the city’s involved with the Everett School District. Franklin hopes to expand it into the Mukilteo School District. It’s called Everett Career Link.
The budget has a $1 million bump in street improvements, more money devoted to capital reserves and the city’s health insurance benefit expenditures fund, and a $500,000 boost in Community Development Block Grants.
In other items, the Animal Farm petting zoo at Forest Park is restored in the budget. The city tried to offload the program last year, but no nonprofit took the reins.
Franklin’s budget also will pay $3.8 million into the city’s police and fire pension funds in 2020 after skipping a year of contributing. The funds have healthy reserves.
Everett is continuing to grapple with a structural deficit.
Running the city requires constantly adapting to cost increases while the city is capped by law from increasing a key moneymaker — property tax rates — to no more than 1 percent per year.
The city has independent services that most other cities its size don’t offer residents, such as a city transit system and city library system, Franklin noted in her responses to reporters at
the address event.
Entering 2019, the city struck down $6 million of its structural deficit. The city fought back a near-$11 million deficit for 2020.
A projection shows it will need to solve a $12 million deficit by this time next year for the 2021 budget.
Work continues. For example, this year it was able to renegotiate its contract with the Village Theatre to use the Everett Performing Arts Center, saving almost $120,000.
This year to trim costs, the city took up a voluntary severance program for longstanding employees. Forty-seven took up the offer.
Everett also added an in-house clinic for city employees to save money on health costs. The city says it will save $350,000 in 2020, and up to $1 million by 2023.
A few departments are working with slightly less money, including in the mayor’s office. There, it is pulling back a vacant $200,000 executive director position that was created in 2018. Franklin said she plans to donate back her cost-of-living salary increase, which would be worth up to $4,721. The mayor’s salary is $188,868, and this is set by a commission.
The City Council will analyze the budget and decide whether to adjust it before taking a vote to approve the mayor’s proposed budget that’s scheduled for Nov. 13.
The council is taking public testimony at its Wednesday, Nov. 6 and Nov. 13 meetings. The council meets at 6:30 p.m. each night and holds the meetings in the council chambers, 3002 Wetmore Ave.
• To watch the budget address in a 30-minute video, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=bX_D8KQmY70 or scroll further
• Mayor Cassie Franklin's proposed 2020 budget is online here: www.everettwa.gov/Archive.aspx?ADID=115