At the November 28, 2016 Business Meeting, the Lynnwood City Council approved the adoption of a balanced and fiscally responsible budget for the 2017-2018 biennium. The new budget maintains high-priority city services, restores funding for critical infrastructure, aligns spending with the City's adopted Community Vision, and helps prepare the City for success in future years.
The 2017-2018 budget was developed through a method called Budgeting for Outcomes which places a greater emphasis upon priorities, outcomes, services and results as opposed to traditional line-item budgeting that focuses more on type and quantity figures. In order to develop community-based priorities, the City conducted an extensive outreach and engagement effort throughout 2016 that resulted in numerous opportunities for community members and city stakeholders to provide input on the budget.
The 2017-2018 Biennial Budget was developed with the following priorities: maintain City services; restore our commitment to our infrastructure; ensure programs and services align with the Community Vision and Council priorities; align financial reserve targets to industry best practices and norms; support workplace innovation and implement organizational efficiencies to maximize effectiveness; prepare for success in future bienniums and address anticipated population growth, and the arrival of Sound Transit’s light rail service in 2023; and remove barriers and advance a pro-equity practice and systems at all levels of the organization, through accountable leadership and through employees committed to being change agents. The City is continuously evaluating opportunities for new efficiencies and budget adjustments will occur in the future – as needed to ensure Lynnwood’s budget is fiscally responsible and responsive to community needs.
- Maintain City services and service levels as desired by the community:
Through the Budgeting for Outcomes method, the implementation of process improvement principles, and efficiency studies, Departments were able to develop a balanced budget that maintains current city services and service levels in spite of rising costs. Although the cost of doing business is rising, city residents can expect the same level of service they are currently receiving.
- Continue addressing the needs of Lynnwood's vulnerable residents:
In 2016, the City Council's Homelessness Task Force awarded a contract to the YWCA of Seattle – King – Snohomish to work in partnership with Lynnwood's Community Health and Safety Section to begin to address homelessness in our local community. This contract will be extended through the end of 2017 to continue this important effort. Additionally, the recently completed community needs assessment, conducted by the Human Services Commission, will now have funds available to award Human Service Grants to help address unmet and underserved human needs in our community. Finally, the Utility Division has been approved to expand the low income utility billing rate program in the next biennium.
- Reinvestment in the community:
Lynnwood is investing an additional $2.2 million towards capital and infrastructure improvements. This investment, along with the millions of dollars recently received in state and federal grants, and the voter approved Transportation Benefit District tax levy, enables the City to improve our community through the 36th Ave W Improvement Project, expanding parking at the Lynnwood Recreation Center, completing a renovation of the Meadowdale Playfields, expanding our paving and road maintenance efforts, and addressing deferred maintenance and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance in our city parks, to name a few capital projects.
- Approval to hire four additional Firefighters: Calls for service are increasing at a rate of over 10% per year, placing a tremendous amount of stress on the current staff to maintain responsible response times. These additional personnel will allow the Lynnwood Fire Department to add an additional Aid/Medic unit. The staffing levels of the Fire Department have not increased in over 20 years, however calls for service have increased steadily year-after-year.
- Approval to hire two Building Permit Reviewers/Inspectors: For the past two years Lynnwood has experienced a rapid upsurge in development activity. Historically the City handled about $50 million in new construction annually, but in 2015 this soared to $201 million. Construction is anticipated to continue on this path for the next several years and additional permit staff are needed to reduce the time needed to review, issue, and inspect building permits.
This is an exciting time for Lynnwood. There is a collaborative spirit felt throughout our City employees, Council Members, our community members and partners. The development of the 2017-2018 budget was challenging, yet rewarding. This collaborative spirit has helped us challenge the status quo, and to reimagine the way we provide services to our community. In the long run, the 2017-2018 budget will position Lynnwood well for the future. This budget is just the beginning of many conversations and innovations that support Lynnwood in being…a Great Deal More!
The Finance Department will be creating a 'budget book' that will incorporate full descriptions of the budget separated by programs.
Julie Moore, Manager of Communications & Public Affairs