Bellevue council passes balanced $1.5 billion budget

Last week the Bellevue City Council voted unanimously to pass its 2017-18 budget and 2017-2013 capital investment program, coming in at $1.512 billion all together.

That number includes $1 billion for all operating funds, $65 million for restricted special purposes (such as the fireman’s pension fund, housing fund and operating grants) and $413 million for capital investments.

It does not include the recently-approved levies for fire safety and transportation.

The $1,512,856,610 budget is balanced, and council members were pleased with the budget for being “fiscally responsible” and fitting in with council priorities. The year-long budget process had three public meetings to help guide council interest and city funding.

Mayor John Stokes released a statement about the budget.

“This budget establishes a solid base for where Bellevue is going in the future,” Stokes noted. “We have many exciting projects ahead including the Eastside Rail Corridor and the Grand Connection as well as work on challenging ones including siting a permanent men’s shelter and creating more affordable housing. Through the collaborative work of my City Council colleagues and the professionalism of city staff under City Manager Brad Miyake’s leadership, we are moving forward on our vision of Bellevue as ‘the city where you want to be.’”

Bellevue uses a process called Budget One, which directs funds toward outcomes rather than individual departments.

The last budget passed — the 2015-2016 budget — came in at $1.45 billion.

The 2017-2018 budget includes service fee raises for water sewer and stormwater. In 2017, water rates will increase 3.4 percent, sewer 4.4 percent and stormwater 4.3 percent. Those rates will rise in 2018 by 6.1 percent, 2.2 percent and 4.6 percent respectively.

Some major pieces of the budget include $3.5 million to go toward affordable housing, $500,000 in capital funds toward the Eastside Rail Corridor in 2017 and 2018, $1.5 million over the next three years for the Grand Connection and funding for Meydenbauer Park and Downtown Park Circle, a $50,000 multi-cultural feasibility study, a $200,000 partnership with Eastside Pathways, restoring park restrooms at Chism Beach, Clyde Beach, Enatai beach, Larsen Lake and Spiritridge parks and $150,000 for advanced transportation technology investments.

Most of the above items were funded through the operating council contingency, with $200,000 to spare over the next two years.

Bellevue’s effective tax rate is $1.14 per $1,000 of assessed property value factoring in the parks levy passed in 2008 and the two levies passed this November.

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