City Of Mill Creek | www.CityOfMillCreek.com 9 Around the City he City currently is in the midst of its biennial budget development process. The pro- posed budget document is a significant work product, as it serves as a financial planning and policy document, and gives local government officials the authority to incur obliga- tions and pay expenses. The budget development process began in early 2018 with strategic visioning sessions by the City Council to identify long-term strategies to achieve each of the City goals. This summer, Interim City Manager Bob Stowe refined the strategies to identify the most critical priorities and needs of the City and the community for the upcoming two-year budget period. These Desired Budget Outcomes became key drivers in planning and developing the 2019–2020 budget. Community input on items to include in the budget was sought at neighborhood and Senior Center focus group meetings; in community and business association meetings; at City board and commission meetings; and through social media. City depart- ment directors submitted their budget proposals to Stowe in September. Departmental planned expenditures were vetted and prioritized. The City Council received the preliminary revenue and expenses in early October. The Council will con- tinue to review the proposed budget over the next several weeks, with careful attention to funding. The City’s Capital Improvement Plan was submitted to Council in October after following a development process similar to that of the budget. This plan prioritizes how the City spends money on facilities, parks and open spaces, transportation, and the Surface Water Utility. Unlike the budget, the CIP plan encompasses anticipated work in the six-year period spanning 2019–2024. Some of the projects in the CIP do not have fully determined funding sources. These projects are included in the CIP in the event that other funding becomes available and for grant purposes. “The CIP encompasses a significant body of work, and we are grateful for the Council’s careful review,” said Stowe. “We are at a critical juncture where the City’s infrastructure is aging and must be maintained or replaced. The City must balance short- and long- term needs against finite resources, both manpower and funding. The CIP significantly progresses the City’s long‐term capital vision by delivering community capital requests.” FUNDING THE PLANS Central to the planning process for the budget, which includes the CIP, is identifying revenue streams. Cities struggle to sustain programs when revenues do not keep pace with costs. “We need to identify the amount of funding available to pay for the initiatives and recognize that there is a limited amount of resources that any community wants to invest in its governmental services,” said Finance Director Peggy Lauerman. “Cities operate in a continuum of financial stress. By design, cities are challenged to meet a wide range of community needs and desires while utilizing as little of the community’s resources as possible.” The City receives a majority of its revenue—58%—from property tax. Currently, the City only receives 18% of the property tax assessed on residents. The remaining property tax dollars go to Everett School District (46%), State of Washington (24%), Snohomish County (7%), Library (3%), and the Transit Authority (2%). “When people learn that we only receive a portion of property tax, they then tend to argue that the City is also receiving a lot of sales tax,” said Lauerman. “Yes, Mill Creek has one of the highest sales tax rates in the state at 10.4%. However, the City only receives 1.1% of the 10.4% tax. Most of the tax revenue goes to the state, which assesses a 6.5% tax. Snohom- ish County receives .2%, and 2.6% is imposed by transit districts.” Part of the Council discussion over the next month will address revenue sources. The 2019–2020 budget must be passed by the City Council by the end of December. Money Matters: A look at the 2019–2020 City budget ADDITIONAL COMMUNITY INPUT OPPORTUNITIES The draft 2019–2020 budget is at: cityofmillcreek.com/2019-2020budget The community is invited to review the budget and provide public comment at the City Council meetings scheduled for 6 p.m. on November 6, 13, 27, and December 4. Comments also can be submitted online: cityofmillcreek.com/budgetfeedback. Senior citizens at least 61 years of age and disabled persons may receive a reduction or exemption for property taxes. Learn more at the Department of Revenue website: dor.wa.gov. Where does your Sales Tax go? T