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Renton City Council Adopts 2009 Budget

November 18, 2008

For more information contact:

Iwen Wang, Administrator, Finance and Information Services, 425- 430-6858
Preeti Shridhar, Communications Director, 425-430-6569  

RENTON - On Monday, November 17, 2008, the Renton City Council unanimously passed the 2009 budget. The Council adopted a balanced budget of $252 million. The budget includes $171 million for city operations, of which $101 million are for General Government Operations.  Due to the slowing economy and high rate of inflation, the 2009 budget projects a deficit of $5 million in 2009. The budget includes reductions in various services and leaves 36 authorized positions unfilled in order to cover the deficit. There are no reductions to current staffing levels.

“These hard economic times brought us together as a family to collectively determine how best to cut our spending and re-focus our resources, while maintaining our core services,” said Council President Marcie Palmer. “I commend our Mayor and city staff for working together with the City Council to help shape the 2009 budget.”

Highlights of the proposed budget include:

  • Use $2 million anti-recession reserve and other undesignated fund balances for capital purposes; fund current operations with projected current revenue; maintain the 10% operating reserve target in the combined General Governmental funds and maintain a well-funded equipment replacement reserve.
  • The budget will use cash-on-hand instead of increasing debt to purchase the parking garage at The Landing, which will reduce the city’s debt burden and help long-term financial flexibility.
  • Hold 36 positions unfilled including eight in the police department, nine firefighter positions, five positions in Community and Economic Development Department, two in Community Services Department, five in Public Works, three in Finance and Information Services, one in Human Resources and 2.5 positions vacant in the Administrative, Judicial and Legal Services Department. 
  • Using State funds, add a police officer for the regional auto theft task force; upgrade police cars to be consistent with Valley Com’s wireless CAD data system.
  • In the Fire and Emergency Services department, reduce the need for overtime with the addition of 12 new firefighters to Response Operations in 2008. As a result, there will be no impact on response times, despite holding positions vacant in 2009. 
  • Initiate the community Arts and Cultural Master Plan process, and launch the Community Planning Initiative.
  • Add a limited-term outreach librarian and add funding for Parks Division equipment.
  • Reduce funding for community events, recreation facilities, contracted geese control, downtown flower baskets, supplies, and publications; reduce free concerts at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park to six per year.
  • In Public Works, purchase two backhoes and a dump truck to increase efficiency by making it possible for separate crews to operate in different parts of the city at the same time.
  • Reduce travel and professional services budget in all departments.

In the utility funds, the Council adopted rate increases for Water & Wastewater, but none for Surface Water. The Council also authorized a new contract with Waste Management to provide garbage collection and recycling services, and adopted a rate increase that reflects the amount Waste Management charges the city for these services. 

“This year’s budget was difficult, but we are proud of the outcome,” said Don Persson, Chair, Renton City Council Finance Committee.  “We had to make some cuts in areas that we could no longer afford, and at the same time, we were able to wisely invest in our priorities of public safety, basic services, community services and economic development.”

For more information on the budget, please visit rentonwa.gov.