There were calls for some last-minute projects in 2012, but in the end the Spokane Valley City Council unanimously approved a $57 million budget last week.
The Nov. 15 meeting of the council marked the budget’s second reading and final approval. The council can amend the budget at any time, however, reminded Mayor Tom Towey.
Towey’s comments came after Council Member Dean Grafos suggested earmarking funds for future “quiet zones” at certain city railroad crossings.
“I’d like to see this council take $250,000 and set it aside,” Grafos said. “I don’t know how the rest of the council feels.”
Outgoing Council Member Bill Gothmann said the “right way to do it” would be for the city manager to bring back a proposal for the council to vote on at a future meeting.
City Manager Mike Jackson said taking money out of the city’s carryover fund could jeopardize the council’s intention to use 40 percent of any amount over $26 million in that fund for street-preservation work.
“The short answer is it’s just as easy to come back and set aside money for that project,” Jackson said.
Council Member Arne Woodard also was in favor of the quiet zones, which he said could be a good investment for the city. He suggested setting aside any sales tax revenue that comes in above $16 million, the projected amount for next year.
Jackson, however, suggested the city take a wait-and-see approach as to what the sales tax numbers actually turn out to be.
In 2012, the city expects to spend $22 million on public safety. That amount is about twice what the city takes in for property taxes, which is projected to be $10.8 million. The city’s property tax rate is about $1.52 per $1,000 in assessed valuation.
The budget also includes $11.3 million for capital-improvement projects such as resurfacing Sprague Avenue from Evergreen to Sullivan roads; preliminary planning, design and environmental work toward the replacement of the west Sullivan Road Bridge; and other work.
About $500,000 will be spent on street preservations.
Next year will also see the opening of Greenacres Park, and the parks department will also spend money on replacing aging playground equipment at Terrace View Park.
With revenue continuing to be flat, city officials aren’t planning any new programs or adding to staff in 2012.
The budget can be seen at www.spokanevalley.org.