2019 City budget gets approved amid mixed reviews

city council meeting 2018-01-02
Ferndale City Council meeting (January 3, 2018). Photo: My Ferndale News

The 2019 City of Ferndale $52 million operating budget has been a work in progress over the past few months and at Monday’s regular Ferndale City Council meeting it was presented for final approval.

Mayor Jon Mutchler introduced the final version of the budget to the city councilmembers noting the following highlights.

  • Cedar Creek Park will be getting an upgrade
  • Star Park will receive a picnic shelter
  • The Vista Ridge trail will be rebuilt
  • Pioneer cabins will get some repairs and  will be open year-round
  • $10k has been allocated for murals
  • A financial analyst will be hired
  • A deputy clerk will be hired
  • A part-time police station support staff will be hired
  • It is a balanced budget

A public hearing was held before the council discussed and voted on the budget. The only person to speak was former councilmember and planning commissioner Yvonne Goldsmith. She wondered how long the council had to review the final budget in its entirety, noting it is about 95 pages long with about 2700 line items. She hoped the council would take more time to review the budget, noting they could meet again on December 17th, in time to approve the budget before the end of the year. She also wondered what revenue increase occurred to provide for the hiring of new personnel.

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After the public hearing, councilmembers commented on the budget. 

Councilmember Kate Hansen said she was happy to see money allocated for the parks.

Councilmember Keith Olson said there were parts of the budget that he had already voiced concerns about at previous meetings.

Councilmember Cathy Watson said she was not happy not knowing how they were going to pay for the treatment plant project. She was also not happy the new hires were going to be paid out of the general fund.

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Councilmember Greg Hansen said he was not so much unhappy with the budget as the process to get to the final version. He said discussions about the budget were “not focused on the right areas,” by not including the big projects.

Councilmember Teresa Taylor said she was happy to have a balanced budget, pointing out that can be a difficult achievement.

Councilmember Fred Kennedy said the balanced budget was a good starting point and discussions about raising water and sewer rates could happen later.

The council ultimately approved the budget by a vote of 4 to 3 with councilmembers Olson, Watson and Kate Hansen opposed.

The council then approved by consent to cancel the last remaining council meeting of the year, previously scheduled for December 17th. The council has in years past routinely canceled the last meeting of the year due to the potential for conflicts with holiday travel plans.

 

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Joe is the founder of My Ferndale News. As a Ferndale resident, he hopes to empower the community with free access to news that matters and makes a difference in the day-to-day challenges faced while we work and live in the Ferndale area.

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