Kenmore City Council discusses Mid-Biennial Budget and Climate Action Plan

By Hannah Saunders

The Kenmore City Council met on Monday, Nov. 22, to further discuss the Climate Action Plan (CAP) and the Mid-Biennial Budget. Environmental Services Manager Richard Sawyer gave a presentation regarding updates to the CAP, which he originally presented to the council in October.  

Financial and Administrative Director, Leticia Salcedo presented the mid-biennium budget amendments during a public hearing. According to the revised code of Washington 35A, cities that conduct budgets on a biennial basis are required to perform a mid-biennial review, including holding a public hearing and adopting an ordinance approving any budget modifications.

“In developing the amendments for the budget, we take into consideration better than expected revenues, higher than expected expenditures, budget corrections, programs, any adjustments needed to not exceed expenditures,” Salcedo said.

According to Salcedo, most revenues for the general fund are stable, however, some exceed budget expectations. The recommended revenue adjustments include a $672,000 increase in sales tax revenue and an $800,000 interfund loan repayment from one fund to another, among others. The net impact to the general fund would be a $472,000 net increase.

An update to the 2021 salary plan includes an increase of city employee salary wages by 6.3% which will be effective Jan. 1, 2022.

“In response to the salary that’s proposed I’m inquiring as to if there has ever been a gender parody pay gap analysis done for our Kenmore staff and employees,” Councilmember Corina Pfeil said. “Given that the new changes in Washington state law, newly adopted in 2019, I think it’s time to do one if one has not yet been done.”

City Manager Rob Karlinsey was uncertain if a gender parody pay gap analysis had been conducted and he brought up how he would ask legal council and include it in the current diversity, equity, and inclusion process.

The public hearing was open for public comments, and a resident, Mr. Michaelman, informed the council that they are not being fiscally responsible with the 6.3% raise for city employees because the benefits they have, such as health insurance, were not being taken into consideration.

“I really want you folks to think hard about this,” Michaelman said. “I urge this council to not vote for a tax increase and to not vote for an increase in wages.”

After no further comments, the public hearing was closed. Karlinsey brought up how the increase in salary is correlated to inflation. The council (excluding Mayor Baker who was not in attendance) unanimously passed a motion to adopt an ordinance amending the biennial budget and the 6.3% wage increase.

Much of the CAP discussion was councilmember Srebnik bringing attention to the grammar and phrasing of different environmental strategies.

“I’m just going to say that I actually see this plan as kind of broad,” Councilmember O’Cain said. “And the sentences in these categories, I appreciate your insight to driving for more clarity in these points, but I see these as charting a path on a very high level linguistically, so I’m kind of uncomfortable with some of the edits that you’re requesting.”

Councilmembers Pfeil and Marshall echoed O’Cain in terms of keeping the language as is. At the end of the discussion, Sawyer mentioned the Environmental Services staff would bring the CAP back to a future agenda.

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