On November 9, the preliminary budget for fiscal year 2016 was presented to City Council. As required by state law, revenues and expenses proposed in the preliminary 2016 budget are balanced in all funds. The proposed budget was developed in support of the adopted City Council Goals, current and projected service and infrastructure needs and is reflective of current and projected economic conditions impacting the City.
From City Manager Dave Zabell's 2016 Budget Message:
"As proposed, the preliminary 2016 budget presents a plan for the allocation of public resources toward a variety of City programs, activities and projects necessary to promote the physical security of our community, enhance the quality of life of our residents, support our businesses, promote public investment in our community in the form of capital improvements and strategic planning and private investment in the form of economic development.
The preliminary budget proposal meets several City Council goals by taking measured, but bold steps, in the public safety budgets and modest steps in other general government and utility budgets to enhance the quality of services we are currently providing. The general fund budget as proposed is a solid step to improving the sustainability of services while putting aside resources to maintain what is built in times ahead when resources shrink. The City provides a wide array of services to the public which require significant revenues in the form of taxes, fees and rates to support. A helpful decision-making filter in considering the value added by the City to its’ citizenry, community priorities and the very purpose of this organization is as follows:
If the City and its services went away tomorrow, why would the people want us back?
Developing a balanced budget that serves to meet forward-thinking objectives while recognizing there is a need to be prudent in what government asks taxpayers and ratepayers to fund is not an easy task, making policy decisions on such a budget is a great responsibility. By its very nature the budgeting process involves difficult choices, assigning values and constantly weighing one thing against another. This proposal attempts to maximize value through the efficient provision of services and minimizing the level of taxes and fees paid by citizens. This budget proposal puts Pasco is in the enviable position of being able to sustain quality municipal programs and services to our residents and businesses – quality that makes Pasco a desirable location in which to live and conduct business. The rapid and sustained growth the City has experienced for more than a decade, with demands outpacing resources and staffing levels, presents an ongoing challenge. Events of this year brought more challenges to our Police and Fire staff and to almost every other department in the City as well as to the City Council. The cumulative impact of increasing service demands, aging infrastructure and limited resources has a taxing effect on individuals and workgroups alike; however, the City’s workforce continues to pull together, meeting every challenge in generally excellent form. Much of this budget is about sustainability, and what it takes for our organization to begin to achieve this goal."
The City Council held Public Hearings on the budget at the November 16 and 30 meetings to take community input on the proposed budget.
The City Council approved the 2016 Budget at the December 7 Regular Meeting.