Kent is one step closer to having an operating budget in place for next year.
Kent City Council cast the first vote on the 2012 operating budget at its meeting this week. Council members unanimously approved the budget, which has about $43 million in total budgeted expenses for next year.
Councilwoman Tracy Wallach was absent and did not vote Wednesday, but the budget will go back to council in November for a final vote of approval.
Kent City Manager Dave Ruller said the 2012 budget has only minor changes from this year's budget, and it continues a trend that keeps a tight rein on spending while making deliberate, strategic capital investments — such as the projects.
"I still remain confident that where we’re heading is appropriate, and I think we’re doing it at a pace that is appropriate," Ruller said.
The 2012 budget reflects some cuts in state support, including a $450,000 from the state. Income tax revenues in 2012 to offset those losses somewhat.
As in recent years, the city again will rely on reserve cash — money saved over the years — to balance the budget. In 2012, the city expects to use $2.8 million from its reserves to make up for the lack of revenue to match expenses. That amount would drop the city's "undesignated fund" balance to $5.6 million to start 2013.
"It's worth noting that we projected a comparable budget contribution ($3 million) from the undesignated fund balance in the 2011 budget, but it looks like we will need something closer to $1.5 million at year end," Ruller wrote in his budget message to council.
Ruller's complete budget message is attached to this article and can be read, or printed, as a PDF file.