Letters to the Editor

What about the rainy day fund? | Federal Way letters

The May 26 article on the city's economic problems paints a bleak picture for Federal Way residents, and for current city employees, things appear to be going from bad to worse. It is perhaps surprising that the article made no mention of the city's substantial "rainy day fund."

In the fall of 2008, the city staff was projecting a $3.1 million budget shortfall for the 2011/2012 biennium. At the conclusion of budget discussions in the special city council meeting of Nov. 18, 2008, former city manager Neal Beets proposed and the council endorsed measures to increase the "rainy day fund" from $1 million to $3.1 million to address the anticipated deficit. As reported in the Federal Way Mirror article of Nov. 22, 2008, this was accomplished by cutting park improvements, using Proposition 1 money to pay for police overtime and eliminating employee pay raises. How this "rainy day fund" plays in the current $4.5 million shortfall estimate has yet to be explained.

Another point worth noting is the statement in the article that "A little more than $2 million previously allocated to the purchase of Camp Kilworth was redirected back into the budget." In fact when these funds became available in September 2009, over half of the total was reserved for the new jail facility (SCORE). The council also felt confident enough about the financial outlook to add $500,000 to the previously approved 2010 street asphalt overlay program. The total added to the General Fund was a mere $150,000 and the potential of a 2011/2012 shortfall wasn't a consideration.

Derek Purton, Federal Way

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