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Puyallup council talks budget, tax hikes

Post by Sara Schilling / The News Tribune on June 29, 2011 at 12:13 am with 3 Comments »
June 29, 2011 12:13 am

Puyallup City Council hasn’t raised utility rates this year to pay for repairing and replacing infrastructure.

But it might in 2012.

Council members spent about two hours at a study session Tuesday talking about how they want to approach next year’s budget, including whether water, sewer and stormwater rates should go up so there’s money to cover broken pipes and other needed fixes.

They also looked at raising the tax on private utilities – like phone and cable – to cover street work, as well as hiking property taxes.

Finance Director Cliff Craig said the city has enough money for operations, but needs to generate more revenue for its aging utility systems and streets. The longer the work is put off the more expensive it’ll be, he and other city officials said.

Council members didn’t make any decisions, but generally asked for options that would generate more money but limit the impact on taxpayers, such as replacing retiring bond debt with a tax increase.

The 2012 budget likely won’t be finalized until late fall, and the council will have several more chances to weigh in. So will the community, including at a public budget session to be held later this summer.

Puyallup staffers are just starting to assemble next year’s budget. Craig said the city is in a stronger position that it was last summer, when officials warned they may have to cut much as one-third of the workforce to bridge a projected $5 million shortfall brought on by the recession.

That didn’t end up happening, although this year’s $36.2 million general fund budget is down more than 9 percent over 2010. It includes a reduction in roadwork and no cost-of-living wage increases for staff, among other cuts.

Craig said he expects the 2012 budget to be status quo, with no new programs or positions, but also no layoffs or major cuts.

Leave a comment Comments → 3
  1. ValleyTarts says:

    The reason there were no layoffs at City Hall this year is Cliff Craig instituted a new finance budgeting system which covered up the overstaffing in overhead positions. Craig initiated a Distributed Overhead accounting system that put the burden of the costs of excess legal, planning and HR staff onto Public Works projects.

    Suddenly the number of Public Works projects was slashed to cover the pay and benefits for the bottom feeders at Turner Towers.

    The city strategy was that taxpaying citizens should pay extra for services and infrastructure and the city needs to hide the costs of its 10 person Legal Dept and other units badly in need of culling.

    “The public are too naive to know the real truth” was Dannenberg and Craig’s plan. In fact, when asked about it, Craig claimed he did not know how the new system works except that suddenly needed no layoffs. Sheer genius.

  2. Puyallupites,Taxes hikes are in your future!Any time you hear the studying of tax inncreases are on the table you can bet the increases have been passed in their minds! The only thing left is how to force feed a palitable story the public will buy.Horror stories are the next thing you will hear if you don’t agree to the increase in taxes.

  3. We need to raise sin taxes, you know, like driving a car.

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