Council opposes initiative capping general fund growth - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Council opposes initiative capping general fund growth

The city's general fund pays for basic City services, including police and firefighters The city's general fund pays for basic City services, including police and firefighters
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SPOKANE, Wash. - Monday night, the Spokane City Council voted unanimously to oppose Initiative 1033 which would cap the annual growth of state, county and city general funds.

The City's General Fund pays for basic City services, including police, fire, streets, parks and libraries.

The growth would be capped at the rate of inflation plus a population growth factor.

Revenue above the cap would be used to reduce property taxes through an adjustment in the property tax levy rate two years later. 

Property owners would see a property tax rebate in 2012 on a $200,000 home of about $40 to $75 a year (or $3 to $6 a month) based on changes to the City's 2010 Budget, according to an assessment of the measure done by the City's Finance Division.  People who do not own property would not receive a rebate. 

Based on very low inflation rates and population growth, the City of Spokane likely would have to reduce the 2010 General Fund budget by another $3 million to $6 million.

General Fund revenues come primarily from property, sales and utility taxes.

For the 2010 General Fund Budget, the City already is dealing with a $7 million shortfall as a result of the national and local economic downturn.

Already, many local agencies have taken steps to lower the $7 million shortfall.

Spokane firefighters agreed to replace their medical plan with one that's referred to as a "high-deductible" plan. The change will save more than $300,000.

The firefighters also set up a salary reduction and early retirement plan that will save an estimated $750,000 in its first year and several hundred thousand dollars in the years to come.

Initiative 1033 is a statewide measure that will be on the November 3, 2009, general election ballot. 

 

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