State of city ‘very strong,’ Caulfield tells MLT City Council

John Caulfield speaks before the Mountlake Terrace City Council Thursday.

Story and photo by Doug Petrowski

“The state of our city is very, very strong,” Mountlake Terrace City Manager John Caulfield told the Mountlake Terrace City Council Thursday night. “The city’s effectiveness in managing its financial resources during one of the most difficult economic times in generations can be seen in our balanced budget.”

Caulfield presented the City of Mountlake Terrace 2011 Annual Financial Report at the city council work/study session Thursday, April 12 at Interim City Hall.

“We have once again achieved our financial and operational objectives for yet another year within our four-square miles,” Caulfield said. “Even though general government revenues continue to decline, this has been offset by a focus to effectively manage our costs.”

The city collected approximately $14.2 million in general fund revenue in 2011, down from $14.5 million the previous year. The city collected less revenue in property taxes, sales taxes, gambling taxes and recreation fees in 2011 than they did in 2010.

City general fund expenditures totaled $13.6 million in 2011, a drop of more than $500,000 from 2010. Caulfield emphasized that cost savings have been done carefully. “We haven’t laid anyone off, we haven’t cut any services,” he said.

The utility funds (water, sewer and stormwater) also ran in the black in 2011, with revenues totaling $8.6 million and operating expenses coming in at $6.7 million.

While Caulfield called the 2011 report full of good news, he warned that the future isn’t as bright. He said budgeting forecasts for upcoming years “are not expected to be as positive as in the past because we’re going to see revenues continue to decline.”
“It may take a decade or more for local government finances to return to the same level of certainty that existed in the mid-2000s,” Caulfield said.

City officials will begin development of a 2013-2014 biennial budget and a 2013-2018 six-year financial report later this year.

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