Speak your piece Tuesday on the Kent City Budget: Hearing scheduled

Residents can tell the Kent City Council what they want or don’t want in the 2010 city budget at a public hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 200 Fourth Ave. S.

Residents can tell the Kent City Council what they want or don’t want in the 2010 city budget at a public hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 200 Fourth Ave. S.

“It’s an open forum where anyone can tell us what they would like to see as our priorities and what to include or not include in the budget,” said Council President Debbie Raplee.

Mayor Suzette Cooke plans to propose $3.1 million in job and service cuts when she presents her 2010 preliminary budget later this month to the Council. An exact date has yet to be set by the Council and mayor’s staff for Cooke’s budget presentation.

“We expect it to be in the third week of October, possibly Oct. 21 or 22,” Raplee said.

The Council will schedule a public hearing at a date to be determined in November for comment about the preliminary budget. The budget will go to the Council’s Operations Committee for adoption and then to the full Council for adoption in December.

“The Council will meet (in November) on the budget and make changes or not before we adopt the budget in December,” Raplee said.

City staff projects a revenue shortfall of $2.1 million next year because of what Cooke called a “flat recovery” in the economy in 2010.

Cooke said at a Council workshop last month that no cuts would be made to the police or fire departments when she submits her preliminary budget. Other city department heads, such as parks, public works, finance and planning, have been asked to make cuts as deep as 10 to 15 percent into their budgets.

Cooke said she wants to set aside an additional $1 million in the budget for a flood emergency fund in case the city gets struck by flooding of the Green River this winter because of storage-capacity problems at the Howard Hanson Dam.

Residents also cn comment Tuesday about what to include in the 2010-2015 Capital Improvement Plan, which details projects for streets, utilities and parks.


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