by Jeff Switzer
The Woodinville City Council passed its 1996 budget Dec. 11 by a vote of 4-2, with Mayor Lucy DeYoung and Deputy Mayor Bob Miller voting against the measure and Councilmember Engel excused.
The council first considered the $16,267,573 budget informally, at which time DeYoung discussed issues such as additional funds for new Christmas decorations for NE 175th Street, the role of the proposed community services coordinator and costs of enforcing the sign code.
"The planning document for 1996 is good, but I'd prefer to have had this discussion at the program level to build a document for next year," Miller said. "Right now it's a convoluted document. I hope for an earlier start in 1997."
A motion by Councilmember Mark Jessup to consider the budget question formally passed 5-1, with DeYoung voting against. Jessup moved for second reading and adoption, and Miller seconded.
DeYoung then attempted to offer several amendments to the budget, including one adding $10,000 in 1996 to increase the number of city newsletters from four to six. The amendment passed 4-2, with Councilmembers Bob Dixon and Art Saulness voting against the measure.
Saulness said he felt the quality of the newsletter could suffer with the increased number of issues, as city staff had indicated at the study session. Dixon had offered an amendment proposing the newsletter be published bi-monthly rather than six times per year, but that failed 5-1.
DeYoung also moved to have staff explore costs of changing the holiday decorations, and Jessup seconded.
At this point, City Attorney Wayne Tanaka stepped into the discussion, noting that with the main motion of the budget on the floor, it was not the time for council to be expressing views on direction outside the budget.
Tanaka said the changes had to be made as line item amendments or that the budget must be amended and dollars shifted at a later date, not as an expression of council wishes to staff.
Jessup and DeYoung withdrew their motions. The council then passed the budget 4-2.
The budget process
The budget process this year required that the council set the amount they would receive before the state assessed utilities numbers were in. When those numbers did arrive, the projected $1.60 per $1,000 assessed valuation dropped to $1.58 for 1996.
Members of the council were upset with the "numbers" presentation given by staff in late November, and requested that staff prepare a more in-depth look at the budget, outlining how funds were allocated to achieve specific council goals.
On Dec. 4, staff reviewed the budget department by department with the seated councilmembers and councilmembers-elect Barbara Solberg and Scott Hageman.
Highlights of the 1996 budget
Approximately $90,000 is allocated to add an asphalt overlay in the Kingswood development.
The Law Enforcement department receives $998,110 to fully implement Woodinville's new community policing. Included are four officers dedicated for the city, city-identifiable uniforms and cruisers, laptop computers, and a radar gun.
Staff increases totalling 5.41 people are included, moving some from part-time to full-time status and adding a building inspector and a community services coordinator. City staff now totals 24.84 people.
In other business: