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Seattle Could Face Budget Gap in 2009

Jason Pagano
08/18/2008

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels wants to hold off on millions in spending to offset a potential budget shortfall next year. The city council has to approve the proposed cuts. They'll hear more from the city's finance director today (Monday). KUOW's Jason Pagano has our story.

TRANSCRIPT

THE $926 MILLION GENERAL FUND IS HOW THE CITY PAYS FOR BASIC SERVICES. DEPUTY MAYOR TIM CEIS SAYS A WEAKENING ECONOMY AND FALLING TAX REVENUES MEAN SEATTLE COULD FACE A BUDGET DEFICIT NEXT YEAR.

CEIS: "We're going into next year, the next biennial budget, with a potential budget problem of about $30-$35 million dollars for the general fund."

TO HELP CLOSE THE GAP, THE MAYOR WANTS TO FREEZE $5 MILLION ALREADY SET ASIDE IN THE CITY'S 2008 BUDGET. THAT WOULD PUT MONEY FOR COMMUNITY CENTERS AND EXPANDED EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICE ON HOLD.

THE MAYOR ALSO WANTS TO CUT $10 MILLION IN SPENDING ON CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS. CEIS SAYS THAT'S BECAUSE OF A DROP–OFF IN REVENUE FROM A TAX ON REAL ESTATE SALES.

CEIS: "Locally, again, we're more fortunate than the rest of the country but sales of real estate have slowed dramatically with credit markets having dried up. So that impacts that tax collection and has reduced it by about a third."

SOME COUNCILMEMBERS HAVE EXPRESSED CONCERN OVER PROPOSED FREEZES ON EDUCATION AND PEDESTRIAN SAFETY PROGRAMS. THE MAYOR WILL DELIVER HIS BUDGET PROPOSAL NEXT MONTH. JASON PAGANO, KUOW NEWS.

© Copyright 2008, KUOW

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