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City budget follows voter mandate
"Federal Way City Council members are expected to adopt an operating budget for the next biennium on Tuesday that stays within property tax limits set by Initiative 722.Council members rejected a 3 percent property tax increase this week and instead unanimously passed a 2 percent increase in light of the recent passage of I-722. The proposal limits property taxes statewide.Currently, homeowners are charged about $1.49 per $1,000 of assessed home valuation, or $149 annually for the owner of a $100,000 home. Under the new tax rate, homeowners will pay six to nine cents less, or about $1.41 to $1.43 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. That's $141 to $143 for the owner of a $100,000 home.City councilman Mike Hellickson says he's pleased with the overall budget, especially with the property tax rates. I'm extremely happy about that, Hellickson said. It shows the council has taken a much more responsible attitude toward I-722. It was the right thing to do.The proposed budget is set at $37.8 million for 2001 and $38.6 million for 2002. That's a 1.9 percent increase over the 2000 adjusted budget and a 1.8 percent increase over the 2001 budget. The increase is largely due to higher-than-projected jail costs, according to the 68-page draft.A majority of expenditures for next year include:* $14.3 million for public safety, which includes police, community safety and education programs. The money also allocates five additional police officers.* $7.1 million for public works, including traffic systems, surface water management, permitting, inspection and legislation. * $6.4 million to management services for financial planning and administration, communications and human resources. This includes a majority portion of $4.5 million going to debt services. This also provides money for principal and interest on bonds for capital improvement projects.* $3.4 million for community development, which includes money for economic development, land use management, building permits and inspections and neighborhood development programs.* $1.3 million to law, which includes civil legal services and litigation, negotiation for contracts and real estate transactions, contract and ordnance drafts.* $3.6 million for parks and recreation including recreation and athletic programs, community events and public facility management.* $1.7 million to the city council/city manager's office. "