Mountlake Terrace City Council approves 2015-16 budget

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City-of-MLT-logoThe Mountlake Terrace City Council unanimously passed the 2015-16 Biennial Budget Ordinance at Monday night’s meeting.

The budget dealt with the retroactive invoice from Fire District 1 for payment of 2013-14 Fire Contract Services. The increase was due to a labor settlement. The total bill for 2013-14 is $661,223.

The City will pay Fire District 1 $107,000 in December 2014 and then the balance of $554,323 in 2015-16. To help pay for the Fire District 1 bill, the City will delay the Master Plan for Ballinger Park and a Needs Assessment for the Recreation Pavilion to 2016. But if revenues are stronger than forecast, these two items may be revisited in 2015.

In addition, the City expects to see savings related to employee healthcare plans and savings in the jail contract budget.

As part of the budget, the City Council also unanimously approved a general levy property tax increase of 1 percent and an EMS Levy property tax increase of 13.82 percent that sets the EMS levy at $0.50 per $1,000 adjusted value, both of which were consistent with the 2015-16 Proposed Budget and the Six Year Financial Forecast.

The tax increases will result in an $11 increase per average residence per year, keeping total average property taxes paid below other Snohomish County Cities but will generate $157,417 in additional revenue for the City.

The City Council unanimously approved a resolution adopting case weighting for public defender misdemeanor cases. In case weighting, the State assigns a weight to each case based on its complexity. In reviewing the cases handled by the City’s public defender in 2013, City staff said that it is apparent Mountlake Terrace has a high number of simple offenses, and therefore it is better to use the case weighting program with its limit of 300 cases rather than the 400 case limit, which is the other option.

The City Council also unanimously approved a new contract with Prosecuting Attorney Sandy Sullivan.

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