The City Council Monday unanimously adopted the 2017-2018 operating budget and the 2017-2023 Capital Investment Program plan.
The $1.5 billion biennial budget is balanced and maintains current service levels in city operations. It also focuses on implementing the City Council Vision priorities. The budget includes two-year appropriations for operations ($1.035 billion), special purposes ($65 million) and capital investments ($413 million).
"This budget establishes a solid base for where Bellevue is going in the future," noted Mayor John Stokes. "We have many exciting projects ahead including the Eastside Rail Corridor and the Grand Connection as well as work on challenging ones including siting a permanent men's shelter and creating more affordable housing. Through the collaborative work of my City Council colleagues and the professionalism of city staff under City Manager Brad Miyake's leadership, we are moving forward on our vision of Bellevue as 'the city where you want to be.'"
Highlights of the budget include:
- Funds council priorities such as increasing funding for economic development, "smart cities" technologies, Eastside Rail Corridor and early implementation of the Grand Connection, and completes Phase 1 of Meydenbauer Park and Downtown Park Circle, among others;
- Grows the city's reserves to prepare for anticipated shortfalls in future years and in case of an economic downturn;
- Allocates $3.5 million towards affordable housing;
- Adjusts Development Services rates to account for inflation and staffing costs, and increases utility rates by 4 percent to address aging infrastructure and wholesale costs; and
- Makes continued progress in meeting many of the city's infrastructure priorities, including maintaining the costs of existing infrastructure, parks levy projects, transportation and mobility improvements, and neighborhood projects.
The council also allocated funds for several projects and programs including a multicultural feasibility study; Eastside Pathways partnership; restoration of five highest priority park restrooms at Chism Beach, Clyde Beach, Enatai Beach, Larsen Lake and Spiritridge Parks; TechHire Initiative; and advanced transportation technology investments.
The community was involved in the budget process through the biennial budget, annual performance and business surveys, public meetings and direct communications. In developing the budget, the city used the "Budget One" process that puts emphasis on community outcomes to help determine funding levels.
Bellevue continues to have one of the lowest tax rates among other Washington cities with a population of 20,000 or more. When including the parks levy (approved by Bellevue voters in November 2008) along with the levies for fire facilities and neighborhood transportation projects (approved by Bellevue voters last month), the city's property tax rate is $1.14 per $1,000 of assessed value.
For more information, visit the city's budget section.
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