Difficult decisions are ahead for the city of Bellevue, as is stated in the outline of the proposed 2021-2022 biennial budget.
The budget, presented to city council on Oct. 19, shows about $1.7 billion in revenues and $1.74 billion in expenses for the next two years. Compared to the 2019-20 budget, that’s a 3.6% drop in expenses, which is due to the completion of major city projects in the year prior and also tightening from the economic hardships in 2020.
The $1.7 billion budget is only at a 2% decrease in revenues from the 2019-2020 budget, a brighter outlook than other cities regionally and worldwide face due to economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. But still, more cuts to costs, short-term fixes and “potentially difficult decisions” will be coming early 2021 and beyond to handle the economic uncertainty, City Manager Brad Miyake stated in his budget transmittal letter.
Solutions to the budget problems of Bellevue in the future could include delaying the completion of Fire Station 10. For 2021-22, the city’s proposed budget focuses on maintaining funds, including for the police and fire departments. The city will also be increasing utility rates in the city, by 2.2% in 2021 and 1.8% in 2022.
Community members turned out for both the first and second public hearings on the budget, speaking to a variety of issues including funding of the police department, increasing human services, and focusing on climate change solutions in the upcoming Bellevue budget.
Folks will have one more opportunity to speak on the budget at the Nov. 23 public hearing before city council takes its vote. More information and documents from the budget process are available at bellevuewa.gov.