The will get $5,000 and the will get $350,000 in city funding next year according to the 2012 budget passed by the City Council Monday night.
In a series of 6-1 votes with outgoing Councilman Rich Elfers opposing each 2012 budget-related ordinance, neither of these two entities will be funded through the city's general fund as they were in years past. Instead, the $5,000 for the Chamber to support its operation of the Visitor Center through the first quarter of next year will come from the city's lodging tax revenues. And the library's $350,000 is coming from a property management fund as the city looks to put the issue of annexation into King County Library Systems (KCLS) on the April 2012 ballot.
Elfers said he understood that the Chamber was in arrears this year over rent that was already subsidized by the city and Chamber leaders had not been responsive to his questions. With regards to the library funding, he opposed using reserves funds to support operations. "It's not good fiscal policy," he said.
It was Councilman Sean Krebs who had made the proposal to fund the Chamber in this manner, along with providing the same rent subsidy it had this year for the Visitor Center building.
This was only a temporary solution, he emphasized, until the City and Chamber could work toward a permanent solution for the Visitor Center. "We're just trying to buy a little bit of time," he said.
Meanwhile, the city is once again proceeding down the same road it was on about a year ago exploring the possibility of annexing the city library into KCLS by a special election vote in April 2012. However, in contrast to last year, the about its preference to keep the library in the city and the too has spoken up about its desire to keep control of the library local.
The approved $350,000 funding is for 2012 only with the expectation that the April election will determine the future of the library.
Other beneficiaries of the 2012 budget including the which will receive $25,000 (it requested $15,000) to maintain the Youth Center and which will receive its requested $4,000 to fund four business workshops to benefit local entrepreneurs.
As the lone council member to oppose the final budget, Elfers expressed disappointment that the funding priorities for next year were not for core services like police or street maintenance but instead, "funding the library through a reserve fund. ... it's totally against the priorities I have as a council member," he said.
In Other News:
1) Council passed an ordinance that OKs a number of amendments to the 2011 budget. Many were simply cleaning up transactions between various accounts, said Finance Director Stephanie McKenzie at the November 28 Council meeting. However, included was one transfer of $36,000 out of REET funds to help get the city golf course out of the red. At the first reading of this ordinance, Councilman Mike Ennis asked why this wasn't a loan to the golf course that would be paid back. Elfers, along with Krebs and Councilman Jeff Beckwith, said the golf course may not ever be able to pay it back and having a debt like that doesn't look good if a third party were to come in and take over operations. Additionally, if the golf course were able to get financially healthy again, it could always repay the REET funds, they said.
2) Council unanimously passed a resolution for an updated court services agreement with the city of Maple Valley that would help the city of Enumclaw recoup the full cost of providing such services plus 10 percent in the year 2012.
According to City Administrator Mike Thomas, the interlocal agreement between Enumclaw and Maple Valley was made in 1998. Since then, caseloads have increased dramatically for both cities and a recent study of court use found that Enumclaw uses 43 percent of the court time while Maple Valley takes 57 percent in one year.
Krebs said that historically, Enumclaw had never recovered the full cost of providing services to Maple Valley, which was where the 10 percent figure (roughly $14,000) came from. He said the Maple Valley Court has not direct impact on Enumclaw citizens but the extra use of the city facility leads to expected wear and tear.
3) Three resolutions were passed related to labor agreements with city employees including those represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the Police Officers Association.
4) Council passed a series of city fee amendments pertaining to community development, Expo Center and Parks fees. According to Community Development Director Erika Shook, these include business license fees, building and fire permit fees, plumbing and mechanical fees, and shoreline permits for the Shoreline Master Program that is currently in review with the Department of Ecology.