Lacey City Council settled in Thursday night for its annual budget presentation and learned that the proposed budget for 2017 has benefited from a lot of local growth.
City Manager Scott Spence, who led the council through the hourlong budget overview, even called it a return to “normal,” after the city has spent much of the past few years dealing with slow growth or large expenses.
Next year’s budget has been helped by strong sales tax revenue — it will bring in $600,000 more than in 2016 — due to commercial development. There’s been more than 800,000 square feet of commercial development in the city so far this year, which is the most since 2011, Spence said.
A closer look at the proposed 2017 budget:
▪ The $122 million budget is composed of 28 funds, including the $43 million general fund, the most visible part of the overall budget. It pays for police, parks, streets and the city’s administration.
▪ If you own property, such as a $200,000 single-family residence, it’s going to cost you about $277 a year in city property taxes. However, the levy rate, which includes past voter-approved bonds, is expected to fall to $1.39 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2017 from $1.43 per $1,000 in 2016. How does that work? Property values have risen 5 percent citywide.
Remember, this is only the city’s portion of property taxes and does not include other taxing districts, such as North Thurston Public Schools, Lacey Fire District 3 and the Port of Olympia. A typical annual property tax bill is closer to $2,000.
▪ Some of the city’s planned spending: $4.3 million for a roundabout at Hogum Bay Road and Willamette Drive; $597,000 for new city vehicles, including three police vehicles; $200,000 for converting more streetlights to energy-efficient LED; and $25,000 for a 50th anniversary Mayor’s Gala, which could become a regular event to help raise money for the Lacey Veterans Services Hub.
Despite the healthier budget, City Manager Scott Spence reminded the council that sales tax revenue generated by general merchandise stores continues to be relatively flat. And Lacey resident Rozell Townsend, who spoke before the budget presentation, urged the council to consider the increasing cost of living in the city.
In the past six years, Townsend said his rent has increased from $575 to $1,150 — and that doesn’t include his $85 monthly water bill, he added.
“This is becoming uneasy and difficult to keep up with,” he said about the expenses.
Weigh in on the budget
Lacey budget-related public hearings are set for Nov. 3, Nov. 10 and Dec. 1. The 2017 budget is expected to be adopted on Dec. 15. All meetings are at 7 p.m. at Lacey City Hall, 420 College St. SE.