Slow and steady continues to win the race for the city of Spokane Valley, at least budget-wise.
With anticipation of building a new $14.4 million city hall next year and city officials again not planning on making use of an allowable 1-percent annual increase in property taxes, City Manager Mike Jackson told the City Council on Tuesday night that the 2016 budget is in “excellent condition” with an eye toward “sustainability.”
“It’s a rare city that’s able to make that declaration,” Jackson said.
As it stands now, the city is anticipating $39.4 million in revenues to its general fund in 2016, an uptick of just over 3 percent from this year. The city expects to spend $39.3 million, or 2.7-percent more than last year from that fund.
Some council members expressed concern, hoping that percentage could be lowered to 1 percent.
“I know a big hit is public safety,” said Council Member Ed Pace.
The city contracts with the Spokane County for police, animal control and court services. That amount is expected to be $24.7 million in 2016.
The city once again is expected to close out the year with an ending balance equaling 50 percent of its total recurring expenditures.
In addition to the new city hall, to be built on Sprague Avenue at the former University City site, the city anticipates completing the southbound Sullivan Road Bridge and continuing to set aside funds for pavement preservation.
Jackson said the city’s “pay as you go” philosophy has served it well over the past several years. For example, while the city has been renting space for City Hall since incorporation since 2003, money has been set aside for the eventual construction of a city-owned structure. As such, a $6.3 million down payment on construction will be available.
Staffing levels will increase from 87.40 employees from 2015’s 87.25.
Public hearings on Spokane Valley’s budget have been set for Sept. 22 and Oct. 13. Final adoption is scheduled for Oct. 27.