Like so many other cities, Bellevue is facing declining revenues because of the recession. The city has so far seen a $14 million shortfall in its biennial operating budget, or about 4.4 percent.
To make up the difference, the city has eliminated out-of-state travel unless necessary, is only filling critical vacancies and is making smaller trims, such as cutting the grass less often in neighborhood parks, said spokesman Tim Waters. In mid-September, the city council will begin talking about the possibilty of layoffs as part of budget adjustments that would happen in December.
In May, the shortfall in city revenue was $5 million, but later this summer it had risen to $14 million, Waters said. A new revenue estimate is expected out next week. Most of the city’s tax base comes from the sales tax — largely, retail sales and auto sales — so the decline in consumer spending has hurt the city. Belleuve also receives a chunk of its revenue from the business and occupation tax and property taxes.
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The capital improvement projects budget is down as well, Waters said. About $62 million in capital projects has already been deferred, and another $34 million in projects will need to be deferred as well.
The city’s 2009-2010 budget was approved last December and went into effect in January. The city council will begin working on the 2011-2012 budget starting next year. Here’s more information about the city budget.