City Manager Brandon Buchanan and Financial Director Blaine Fritts presented their mid-biennium budget review and adjustments to city council on Tuesday, November 7th. The presentation detailed the progress the city has made through strong data and thorough explanation concerning money spent and plans for 2018. “We’ve made significant changes to the benefits we offer employees,” said Fritts. In addition to a boost of an increase of 3% because of COLA (cost of living adjustment) as determined by the state of Washington, Fritts went on to explain that there is an 11% increase in high deductible medical premiums with a continuation to maintain the contribution to employees’ HSA (Health Savings Account) at current 2017 levels. Though premiums would increase, the coverage provided is more beneficial for the policy holder. Additionally, dental premiums will increase by 3.4% with a switch from Delta’s Plan F to Plan J for what is considered much better coverage.
The report went on to detail the proposals for staffing needs for the police department, administration services, and an additional executive position. The proposal for the police department consists of an additional patrol officer and an additional patrol sergeant. According to the report, the proposal for an additional patrol officer is partially due to an increase in anticipated calls for service associated with two new projects: the Woodin Creek and Vinterra housing developments. An additional sergeant for the department would be invaluable. The report states that, “The Police Department currently has one “Patrol/Administrative/Detective Sergeant” on staff, who in addition to wearing those three hats, is also tasked with filling in for the Chief of Police.” If a qualified and well-rounded individual were to procure a second sergeant position for the city, responsibilities could be more specified and police work could be streamlined more effectively.
The executive position is that of an Intergovernmental Affairs coordinator. The report states that this position would assist the City Manager, City Council, and other Staff in coordinating, advising, and serving as a liaison for the City. This position would directly benefit synergy with Woodinville and the state of Washington. Intergovernmental and interjurisdictional relationships could blossom due to the addition of this position.
Lastly, a Purchasing/Contract Manager would be added to administration services plus a part-time Information Systems technician. These positions would be created to meet growing demands of service while increasing responsiveness and productivity.
The report’s summary stated that the city’s operation finances are well positioned, and the city continues to operate well within its means. The primary reason for an increase in staffing is to help adhere to the ever-increasing demand for service. There would be no increase in property tax with the increase in staff.