Letters to the Editor

Budget cuts: Rainy day fund and more | Federal Way letters

(RE: "Budget cuts: Federal Way stands to lose 18 police officers," Aug. 28):

The 2011/2012 budget proposed by the city manager will obviously go through substantial changes before it is finalized in December. No member of the city council could endorse the current documents and hope to be re-elected.

There are at least two glaring omissions from the plan as published:

• No mention is made of the carefully crafted $3.1 million "rainy day fund" set aside in November 2008 specifically to address the 2011/2012 budget shortfall.

• Also omitted is any mention of the $6 million the city expects to realize from the sale of the former AMC Theatres site.

The public works department is without doubt the winner in this version of the budget with virtually no loss in full-time employees in 2011, and retention of all capital project funding, including over $5 million to build the road to Costco.

The budget proposes reducing the number of commissioned officer positions by 18 in addition to the three positions frozen in 2010. In The Mirror article, City Manager Brian Wilson is quoted as saying: "The positions cut will not be those associated with Proposition 1." This seems like a classic example of doublespeak. Proposition 1 added eight patrol officers, four traffic officers, four detectives and two lieutenants. The recommended budget eliminates 13 patrol officers, one traffic officer, two detectives and two lieutenants.

The impact statements associated with these cuts hardly constitute the enhanced public safety promised by Proposition 1.

Lest we forget, Proposition 1 also added a number of other positions including a code compliance officer and a parks department maintenance worker, both of which are eliminated in the proposed budget.

The truth is that virtually all positions added by Proposition 1 are eliminated and the 1.75 percent utility tax revenue will become funding for positions that existed prior to the approval of the measure.

The city manager is also quoted as saying that Proposition 1 monies no longer cover the expenditures incurred by the 18 positions. In fact, the latest financial report shows that through July 2010, Proposition 1 revenue exceeded expenditure for the originally added positions. If revenue had not been redirected to pay for the Safe City project and to indirectly contribute to the previously mentioned rainy day fund, Proposition 1 balance as of the end of July would be in excess of $1.5 million.

Derek Purton, Federal Way

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