Council to discuss finances, city manager evaluation Monday

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Mountlake Terrace City Council member Kyoko Matsumoto Wright (left) and Mayor Pro Tem Rick Ryan focus on the fine print in the 2017-2018 Revenue Estimates during the Sept. 15 city council work/study session.
Mountlake Terrace City Council member Kyoko Matsumoto Wright (left) and Mayor Pro Tem Rick Ryan focus on the fine print in the 2017-2018 Revenue Estimates during the Sept. 15 city council work/study session.

Discussions about finances and the upcoming City Manager evaluation will dominate the next Mountlake Terrace City Council meeting set for Monday, Sept. 19.

Monday’s council meeting agenda includes a report on the 2016 second quarter finances and a review of city financial policies; the council will also discuss how the six-month performance evaluation of City Manager Scott Hugill will be conducted.

Both topics were touched upon at the council’s work/study session on Thursday.

Councilmembers were given their first look at the 2017-2018 revenue estimates for the city at Thursday’s meeting, a report that Hugill told the council would be crucial over the next few weeks as the city prepares its 2017-2018 biennial budget.

The report showed a little brighter future for revenues coming into City Hall than officials has seen over the past year, due primarily to the passage of Proposition 1, the property tax increase approved by Mountlake Terrace voters last month.

“You’re in a much better position than you would have been had that not been passed,” Hugill told council members.

Property taxes collected by the City of Mountlake Terrace are expected to increase by more than $1.1 million from 2016 to 2017 according to the Revenue Estimates report.

City officials have stressed a need to increase revenue for the city as it hasn’t kept up with the budget plans approved by the council over the past couple of years. Revenue for 2016 will be more than $1 million short of planned spending – the City has balanced the budget by reducing funds put into reserves and keeping various city staff vacancies unfilled.

Even with the additional property tax revenues expected to be collected in 2017, Hugill warned the council that the city will likely still face shortfalls next year.

“In 2017, despite the property tax levy that voters approved, we’re still not able to fully fund your reserves,” Hugill stated. “You’re $405,000 behind to fully fund your reserves.”

Monday’s look at the 2016 second quarter financial report and the review of general city financial policies are just the next of many steps that the city council will take to an eventual vote on a 2017-2018 biennial budget; that vote is scheduled to take place in December.

At Thursday’s work/study session, the council selected members Doug McCardle, Laura Sonmore and Seaun Richards to form a subcommittee tasked with beginning the process to evaluate Hugill in his role as city manager. Hugill was hired for the top City Hall job in June and his employment agreement calls for an official performance evaluation to be completed “on or about Dec. 1.”

The council is expected to further discuss on Monday how the evaluation process will be carried out.

— Story and photo by Doug Petrowski