LETTER: ‘A Fiscal Wrench into the Affordability of Annexation at this Time’
It has been reported that property tax revenue in Burien is down 8.8% for 2012 and revenues will be down another 4.5% in 2013.
These figures are from the city of Burien’s finance director.
This will put a strain on resources already stretched thin with costs like Police increasing 4% according to city figures.
I want to draw the council’s attention to the fact, that as the elected government of the city of Burien, the council has a fiduciary responsibility to write a fiscally responsible budget.
The residents expect the council to take budgetary measures to prevent Burien from going into the red, without having to increase taxes or reduce services to compensate for the revenue shortfalls we are currently experiencing.
The 2012-2013 budget should include the projected costs of the annexation of Area Y, since the majority on the council is determined to see it through.
One thing for certain is that the current business plan the city is using, which is based on the Berk Report, is out of date and overstates the property tax revenue from Area Y.
This is blatantly obvious, because property tax revenue in Burien is down 8.8% and average property valuation in Area Y is down by 17%.
However the property tax revenue projections in the Berk report were counting on a modest increase.
This throws a fiscal wrench into the affordability of annexation at this time and a new cost analysis of the annexation of area Y is necessary in order to arrive at a realistic 2012-2013 budget. At the very least the property tax revenue estimate needs to be revised downward.
It is very possible an objective analysis of the annexation proposal at this time may conclude it is not fiscally feasible, without either a larger tax increase or a reduction in current services.. If this is the case then residents should have the right to know what is coming.
I think in the interests of transparent government, the residents have a right to a realistic budget, that takes into account all known factors, so we don’t end up with the city in the red a couple of years down the road because of poor planning now.
We don’t want an unrealistic budget that shows a light at the end of the tunnel only to find later out that light is a train.
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