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Mill Creek's Fiscal Health

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After months of delay, the Mill Creek City Council finally reviewed the Economic Development Committee's recommendations at their February 10 Council meeting. While this might be perceived as good news, the fact the Council took no action is a huge disappointment.

Here is why I am concerned. Last year, the Council voted to take $2 million from reserves to balance the FY 15-16 budget. The citizen group made specific recommendations to diversify the City's revenues, and the Council did not spend time at this meeting to begin the development of a strategy needed to overcome this huge financial dilemma. The City's current level of service will certainly cost more in the future. How are these services going to be paid for? The development of a financial plan is Council's most important responsibility.

The citizens who participated in this important initiative deserve better. In fact, the citizens of Mill Creek do too. I could argue the citizen group did more work that Council did in 2014. It is time for this Council to display leadership and fully commit to the development of a financial plan that will fix the City's budgetary woes.

Lynn D. Sordel

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Mill Creek's Fiscal Health

Mill Creek's fiscal health is very good. Current budget projections for the City of Mill Creek indicate that most if not all of any potential budget shortfall is being made up by conservative spending and increased sales and property tax revenue. As a current council member stated sometime back "we" appear to always be in this position at the beginning of the fiscal period but always end up in good shape.

Mill Creek doesn't have a financial policy

If the City's fiscal health is "very good," and if most if not all of any budget shortfall is being made up of conservative spending and increased revenues, why is the City carrying millions in reserves? Perhaps the citizens deserve some tax relief.

The City Council does not have a financial policy in place. A policy which details how much $$ should be kept in reserves and how they should be spent should be completed before the Finance Director retires.

Lynn D. Sordel
Mill Creek

Candidate for City Council Position #5

Mil Creek's Fiscal Policy

The City does have a fiscal policy and that is to maintain its current reserve. Merely have a written policy means nothing as a current council is not bound by any past council and new circumstances may well require a change in policy.

Some members of the past council who were unelected were very eager to raise taxes but when it got down to making the proposal and taking a vote on the matter it never happened. One wonders why? I remember that Illinois and New York were raised as prime examples of states that have good tax policies and look were they are at. During my working years I traveled to these places and life here is very much better with lower taxes.

Past experience has shown that any taxes raised will always be spent with the governing body only coming back later to the citizens, pleading poor mouth, and asking for more taxes.

Mill Creek was just fine 34 years ago when I first visited the place and it is just fine now and taxes as well as expenses have been kept lower than most. The world has not come to an end and life goes on.

What would Lynn Sordel propose doing with the hundred of thousands raised by new utility taxes.

Regards,

Wil Nelson
Red Cedar

The benefits of a Utility Tax in Mill Creek

The question of what would the council do with the revenue raised from a new utility tax is not the issue considering the money is already value-added.

The new revenue stream will already improve quality of life through less pollution, less dependence on unrenewable resources, less storage of spent fission fuel, less CO2 emissions, fewer coal trains traveling through Snohomish county, fewer pipelines impeding on the environment, less salmon habitat destruction... I could go on.

Certainly, a utility tax would encourage development of renewable electricity generation in new and existing Mill Creek developments.

I acknowledge that the indigent among us might find the tax difficult to pay, however, all would benefit, rich and poor, from clean air.

This is an issue of acting responsibly. This is an issue of paying a tax rate that is easy to understand instead of relying so heavily on sales taxes generated from existing and new encroaching businesses.

This would provide a more balanced base of revenue for the city.

Sure it's nice to have low tax rates and still have everything you want given to you without paying for it, but let's be realistic about whether or not that logic makes any sense at all.

Times have changed and it's now time to look at acting responsibly as a community.

Douglas Carlson
Candidate for Mill Creek City Council

Utility Tax

Reduced consumption of electricity and natural gas could have the same effect as a utility tax and would be a preferable alternative.

Written Policy

Having a written policy will provide our staff the direction they need to competently advise the council on financial matters, such as reserve spending to balance the budget.

With the recent state sales tax increases on previously untaxed products, many Mill Creek residents don't understand the prices for simple day to day purchases. You ought to be able to go up to a cash register and know how much the total cost is about to come to. If you ever tried to ask a clerk to itemize the cost of your sales tax, you would be greeted with the "tink-tink" sounds of the blinking of eyelids, in response.

The Economic Development Committee recommended an easy to understand utility tax that would show up on a regular billing cycle, but the current members may be unwilling to follow recommendations.

My belief is that development of solar power generation incorporated into new and existing structures will benefit residents not just in utility tax savings, but also in quality of life.

The time is now for implementing the EDC plans.

Douglas Carlson

Mill Creek City Council Candidate

Another reason to create a written financial policy

I believe Mr. Carlson makes some valid comments.

I would add another reason to create a written financial policy is it would hold Council accountable for future financial matters.

Transparency is critical to governance today.

Lynn D. Sordel

Mill Creek

Candidate for City Council Position #5

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