Published October 27 2022
Plus, development services and school impact fee adjustments discussed and Hindu awareness proclamation
On Monday, the City Council had an in-depth review and discussion on several aspects of Bellevue’s proposed 2023-2024 budget. Investment topics reviewed by the council during the meeting included environmental stewardship, diversity, equity and inclusion, and human services, as well as fees for Development Services and school impact fees.
The two-year operating budget and seven-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Plan together include an increase in spending for the city’s Environmental Stewardship Initiative by $10.1 million through both municipal and community actions to support accelerated implementation of the actions in the Environmental Stewardship Plan. This is a four-fold increase over the prior budget and is focused on tackling the largest sources of greenhouse gases including buildings and transportation. Specific actions proposed include energy and sustainability programs in the community, public education, urban forestry and increasing energy efficiency at city facilities with renewable energy upgrades and electric vehicle charging stations.
The city has also included a concerted focus on diversity, equity and inclusion work in the proposed 2023-2024 budget, including updating the goals, strategies and application of tools within the Diversity Advantage Plan, first adopted in 2014. Specific investment areas are expected to include citywide employee training, continuance of work to develop a budget equity framework for the city, building and strengthening relationships with Tribal governments, and developing cross-cultural programming, exploring cross-cultural spaces and pursuing partnerships for the work.
In human services, the city’s budget proposal continues funding priorities for investing in the Human Services Fund, which received an unprecedented number of applications for funding in 2023. The fund has $4.8 million through funding from property taxes as well as significant donations from the business community to spend on the continuum of human services, including food security, housing stability, behavioral health, education and employment support and services for violence survivors. The commission recommended funding 114 programs through the Human Services Fund.
The city also helps to administer the federal Community Development Block Grant program to accomplish national objectives established by federal regulations. The Human Services Commission made recommendations for the expected 2023 funding of about $1.3 million to support low- and moderate-income residents with human services, rehabilitation/repair of single-family homes and microenterprise business assistance. Additionally, the city has a Housing Stability Program, which uses a 0.01% sales and use tax increase passed through state House Bill 1590 for affordable housing, behavioral health and housing-related services in the community. The Human Services Commission made funding recommendations for approximately $1.75 million for this program.
The full council presentation is available on replay through Bellevue Television.
Development Services and school impact fee adjustments
The council also received a Development Services budget update, including Development Services proposed 2023 fees and hourly rates and school impact fee schedule.
The presentation included the results of the Development Services annual cost of service study, including a policy recommendation to adjust the Land Use review cost recovery objective to 100% fee-supported. Adjustments to fees reflect the results of the annual fee analysis and are aimed at maintaining service levels across the multi-department line of business. The ongoing success of the Development Services line of business requires quick responses to shifts in workload, performance or revenues generated from permit fees as Bellevue continues to experience the current development cycle, which is at a nine-year-high plateau.
More details are available in the meeting materials.
Proclamation for Hindu awareness
The mayor and City Council presented members of Bellevue’s local Hindu community with a proclamation for Hindu American Awareness and Appreciation Month, auspiciously on Diwali, a special holiday for those in the Hindu community.
The proclamation noted the benefits received by Bellevue and many other communities from the inclusion of Hindu Americans and their contributions to the vitality, growth and wellbeing of our cities.
NOTE: The next City Council meeting will be Nov. 7 due to Oct. 31 being the fifth Monday of the month.