Olympia City Council approves inclusion of 2021 year-end fund list for budget amendment

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The Olympia City Council approved the inclusion of 11 items in the upcoming budget amendment, which appropriations will come from the city’s $10.2 million available funds.

During the city council meeting on Tuesday, May 17, Olympia city manager Jay Burney said the $10.2 million was from the 2021 year-end balance, which he said: “is more than what we usually see.”

The city manager said the 2021 year-end balance was “a reflection from sales tax receipts, which exceeded their expectations.

Burney added that the city’s expenses were below expectation, mostly due to some salary savings from vacant positions.

Burney presented the finance committee and city manager’s joint proposal for the available balance:

Building repair - $500,000

Burney said they always take the first $500,000 off the top of any monies in for building repair and maintenance fund. 

Workers Compensation Fund - $1 million

Citing a couple of workers' compensation claims in the past years, Burney said it had eaten up the fund over time and they need to put additional money to it. 

“We're also doing a study this year to make sure we're looking at the reserve amount, the balances needed, and contributions that may need to be increased to make sure that funds stays hold,” said Burney. He added they would share the study results on workers' compensation at the finance committee sometime in August.

Emergency Homelessness Response - $1 million

Burney informed the councilmembers that the ongoing homelessness emergency has been using up the general fund operating budget. “I am proposing that we start to place the money into a separate fund to address our ongoing emergent homeless response.”

Burney added the homeless response team would use some funding. 

“At times, our homeless response team have to address some smaller encampments” Burney explained, “and they are always looking for options to help people by providing support in terms of portable restrooms, and garbage pickup at some of the other encampments.” 

Home Fund interfund loan payoff - $730,000

According to Burney, the city took inter-fund loan from the Home Fund to help with the emergent homelessness response. 

Financial software - $3 million 

The city is upgrading our financial software system, Burney said. “We've pieced the funding together over time. Another big piece of funding was this $3 million to finish off the acquisition costs.”

Fire facilities major maintenance - $200,000

“For years, we have a lot of firefighters who pull double duty. We have carpenters and plumbers who are firefighters,” said Burney. “They took on a lot of the maintenance obligations and keeping the fire stations up to date.”

Burney proposed that the money should be given to the Public Works team for on-call contracts and for one-time support to help bridge the gap in maintaining the fire stations.

Cultural Access Tax Special Election Costs – $180,000

Burney said these are the costs related to the Cultural Access Program, the recent Proposition 1 special election. But he said they might be able to recoup some of the money and bring it back into the fund balance. “But for now, we need to account for them there until we're fully sure what we can do there.”

Records Management System (RMS)- $250,000

Burney proposed that the city set aside $250,000 for the RMS upgrade. He said the Olympia Police Department participates in RMS, which shares the system with other local jurisdictions. 

“That system is just like our financial system, [it] just due for an upgrade. Our costs for that upgrade is about $500,000,” he said. 

Olympia Fire Department Leadership Training - $100,000

Burney said that the fire chief’s priority list is the leadership development and strategic training for firefighters. 

As he proposed allocation for this program, Burney told the council members to include the fire department training fund in the budget conversation. “I don't believe that [$100,000] is adequate. We need to make sure our firefighters have all the training that they need to do their jobs.”

Quince Street improvements– $350,000 

“We are moving our mitigation site from downtown to the new site on Quince Street,” Burney said. 

The city needs additional funding for the design and planning. He said they need to come up with about $500,000 to complete the design and construction. 

Climate Policy and Legal Support - $190,000

Burney said the city had adopted some aggressive targets for the climate program. 

Burney said the city’s climate program manager needs some staffing support to continue to work on the program. 

The city manager added the city’s legal department, which has taken on a lot of extra work on different topics, also needs additional funding of $100,000.

The total cost for the proposals is $7.5 million, Burney said. 

“Everything proposed on this list is a one-time need and does not create any additional bow waves for ongoing support,” Burney explained. 

Burney added both the finance committee and the city manager proposed to leave about $2.7 million of 2021 year-end balance so the city can help with the ‘bow wave’ items in future budgets beginning in 2023. This may include funding for the expansion of the Crisis Response Unit, implementation of body cameras for the Olympia Police Department, climate support and homeless response support. 

Councilmembers and finance committee chair Lisa Parshley further explained that “the recommendations reduce the bow waves, which helps reduce future worries.” 

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  • JWulgaru

    $1.73 MILLION dollars on the criminal transients. Shameful.

    Friday, May 20 Report this