Work on City budget starts in October

City-of-MLT-logoOctober is only a couple of days away and that means the City of Mountlake Terrace will be taking up the 2015-16 budget.

The following is the City’s budget schedule:

  • City Manager Arlene Fisher will make a presentation on Oct. 6.
  • Department presentations are scheduled for Oct. 16 and 23.
  • A public hearing is set for Nov. 3
  • The City Council will consider acting on the budget on Nov. 17.

All of the meetings are open to the public and will take place at 7 p.m. at the Interim City Hall, 6100 219th St. SW. Suite 200.

The City notes that Mountlake Terrace residents pay nearly the lowest annual property tax amount in Snohomish County. Only Darrington, Gold Bar, Granite Falls,Index and Sultan pay less.

Property taxes are paid to Snohomish County and then divided up among several entities. The city gets about 21 percent of the total bill. More than half of that amount goes toward public safety expenses such as Police, Fire, Emergency Medical Services, Jail, Municipal Court, and Emergency Operations. The remaining funds pay for all the other services such as Street Maintenance, Recreation and Parks, Development Services, Economic Development, Facilities Maintenance, Finance, Information Technology, Human Resources, Community Outreach and Information, and Debt Service.

Most of the remaining 79 percent goes to the Edmonds School District followed by the State School Fund, Snohomish County, Sno-Isle Library District and Swedish Hospital District.

The city also operates three utilities (storm water, sewer and water). Utility funds generate revenues from user rates and fees. Like a business enterprise, these funds cover their own costs, without help from outside funds. Under Washington State law these revenues cannot be used to subsidize programs other than those related to the utility.

In 2013, the city received over $2 million in sales tax revenue, the highest amount ever collected by Mountlake Terrace. Recently, the city received an update from the state showing that city taxable retail sales for first quarter 2014 was up almost 16 percent (15.96) over the first quarter of 2013, the highest increase for any city in the state. One of the main contributors is new construction, which is important because it generates additional property and sales taxes that reduce the taxes residents have to pay locally.

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