Broadnax proposes solution to fill budget gap

// Plan would solve deficit for remainder of 2012

Shifting nearly $5 million from several funds to the city’s general fund, along with other tactics, could solve Tacoma’s budget deficit for 2012. City Manager T.C. Broadnax presented the plan to Tacoma City Council during its Sept. 11 study session.

The city has an $11.8 million budget gap for 2012 it must fill by the end of the year.

Eliminating a vacancy in the Municipal Court will save $63,158.

Reductions in funding for external agencies will save $749,500. Of this, nearly $700,000 is from money the Human Rights and Human Services Department would have allocated to social service agencies. Another $36,300 is from money the Community and Economic Development Department would have allocated, with another $13,600 cut from arts funding. Councilmember Marty Campbell noted an earlier round of budget cuts reduced arts funding by $219,000.

Federal grants the city received earlier this year for the Police Department and Fire Department account for an additional $2.48 million in 2012.

Actions initiated by the council account for an additional $1.56 million. This comes from a tax on non-profit health care providers, liquor revenue and a new sales tax to fund mental health and substance abuse services.

An additional $1.64 million comes from unanticipated revenue. Broadnax said this is one-time funding and more funds from these sources should not be expected in planning for the 2013/14 budget.

There are several city funds that have received some money from the general fund that have unspent money. Broadnax proposes transferring some of this money back to the general fund. These funds are information technology/radio, health care and flex, third-party liability, life insurance and information technology/communications systems. Combined these would send $4.96 million back to the general fund for 2012.

“We would be recommending, at this point, to utilize these dollars,” Broadnax remarked.

A resolution adopting this strategy and directing the appropriate fund transfers will be presented to the council during its Sept. 18 meeting.

Broadnax plans to go before the council’s Government Performance and Finance Committee on Nov. 21 for a discussion on reserve fund policies.

In December the council is expected to approve a budget for the 2013/14 biennium.

Mayor Marilyn Strickland said she is impressed with how the city manager and staff came up with this solution for the budget shortfall. “This is a way to wrap up how we will handle 2011/12.”


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