From the City of Everett Press Release dated February 23:
Mayor Cassie Franklin this morning issued a mayoral directive to address the ongoing structural budget deficit in the City’s general government budget and to improve efficiencies and cost management citywide.
“We have outstanding economic prospects and opportunities that we’ll be pursuing in the coming year,” said Franklin. “However, at the same time that we’re working to bring more revenue into the City, we must also look closely at how we can better control our costs and close the budget gap we face in 2019 and beyond.”
For more than a decade, the City’s revenue growth has not kept pace with expenses, a problem that was further compounded by the Great Recession. The projected deficit for 2019 is more than $13 million, and the gap increases in the following years.
“Our finance team and department directors have worked hard to balance the budget each year,” said Franklin. “Now we need to make some difficult decisions in order to address this problem in a comprehensive, sustainable way going forward.”
Franklin is directing department directors to evaluate their departments’ operations and provide recommendations for reducing the cost of providing services. An interdepartmental team will also review ideas submitted by City employees and the public. The directive includes an exploration of alternative or collaborative funding and service delivery models for some of the City’s largest departments.
The directive also establishes a team of executive staff and the City Council budget subcommittee that will oversee the process to fulfill the directive and evaluate potential strategies.
“The Council understands the significant challenge that the City is facing, and I’m pleased that Mayor Franklin is making this work a priority,” said Councilmember Scott Murphy, who chairs the budget subcommittee. “We need to take a hard look at how we can control our rising costs, and the Council will have an active role throughout this process.”
The directive includes eight initiatives:
In partnership with the City Council, establish an oversight team consisting of executive staff and the Council budget subcommittee.
Evaluate all vacant positions for potential elimination.
Reduce travel and training costs.
Evaluate current services and identify potential modifications and options for controlling costs within existing services.
Solicit and evaluate cost-saving and service-modification suggestions from employees and the community.
Explore alternatives to reduce costs for employee benefit programs.
Expand the City’s volunteer program.
In partnership with the City Council, investigate collaborative and alternative funding or service delivery models for existing services.
The full directive is available on the City website: everettwa.gov/budgetdeficit