The Bellevue City Council Monday will convene the first of a series of public hearings to discuss the city's 2011-2012 operating budget and 2011-2116 capital improvement plan.
The hearing will begin at 8 p.m.at City Hall in the first-floor council chambers. The proceeding will also be cablecast on Bellevue Television 21, and can be viewed on the city's website.
The new budget and capital plan are being crafted at a time when Bellevue, like cities everywhere, faces significant fiscal challenges due to the economic downturn.
While cost control measures put in place last year have helped the city weather the downturn, the city still expects a significant operating budget deficit in the new biennium.
"Our history of strong fiscal stewardship and success in attracting new commercial and residential growth has helped us weather this economic storm better than some communities," said City Manager Steve Sarkozy. "But we are facing big challenges as we move into next year. This is going to be an extremely challenging budget cycle, and a lot of hard decisions are going to have to be made."
Next week's public meeting will be followed by a second public hearing on July 19. A third and final hearing will be held Nov. 15 prior to adoption of a budget by the City Council in early December.
Besides the public hearings, the operating budget and capital improvement plan will be discussed in coming weeks during City Council study sessions. These sessions are open to the public and also can be viewed on BTV 21 and the city's website.
The city this year is utilizing a different budget development process than the one it has traditionally used.
Typically, staff working with the City Council and community have developed an operating budget and capital improvement plan by looking at budgets in individual departments, and then shaping spending in those departments to fit available resources.
This year, however, a new process is being used that identifies the community's highest priorities, then allocates spending based on those priorities.
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