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2020 Town budget shrinks

While La Conner’s 2020 proposed budget is smaller than last year’s, with reduced expenditures, revenues are even smaller. Just over $1 million dollars, tapped from the general fund balance, plugs the operating budget shortfall.

The estimated $4.7 million in revenue will be 3.7% below 2019 and the $5.7 million in expenditures is 12% lower. Mayor Ramon Hayes submitted the preliminary budget to Council Oct. 22 and they had a special 5 p.m. meeting to discuss it. Revisions will be made before Council approves the budget at its Dec. 10 meeting.”

Administrator Scott Thomas noted, “It is a process of working with the Mayor and Council and identifying what is most important what is a little bit less important and what we can do without.”

A drop in sewer-compost fees are the most significant reduction, at $187,500 from losing two large contracts. But Kelly Wynn, director of sewer, water, wastewater and yard debris, believes probable contracts with Eastsound, Friday Harbor and Shelter Bay by early 2020 will replace that income.

The street fund has also shrunk, because no significant projects are planned.

The largest expenditure increase is for the Caledonia Street pump station.

The general fund will drop over $118,000, from $50,000 transferred to the flood fund, per Town policy, and $39,000 for shoreline restoration, a park fund cost. Staff wage increases are the balance.

The Town will maintain a healthy fund balance of slightly over $2 million. Reserves will be 50% above policy minimums if the final budget is similar to this draft.

A special Council meeting at 5 p.m. Oct. 22 focused on the 2020 budget, which will be passed at Council’s Dec. 3 meeting.

No one spoke at the budget public hearing segment of the regular Council meeting, which lasted one minute.

There will be public budget hearings during the Council’s November meetings. The budget is on the Town’s website:

The Town is required by law to have a balanced budget.


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