Parks, library, fire protection: Port Townsend town meeting to focus on future spending

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — A town meeting Thursday will focus on a decade of city budget information.

The meeting will be from 6:30 p.m. to 9:10 p.m. in council chambers in historic City Hall at 540 Water St.

The Port Townsend City Finance and Budget Committee will present a 10-year history of city finances, reviewing financial trends along with a chart that demonstrates how both revenues and expenses have changed.

Mayor David King said he hoped the presentation will clarify public understanding of the budget, showing that while revenue has increased, expenses also have risen.

The meeting will include material about how any proposed financial measures on ballots this year could affect finances, King said.

The city is now in the process of refining the Port Townsend Library’s renovation process with the goal of putting a bond issue not to exceed $3 million on the November ballot.

Voters also on that ballot may be faced with the question of creating a joint metropolitan park district between the city and Jefferson County.

A measure for East Jefferson Fire-Rescue is expected in 2014.

After city staff members make their presentation, the public will have an opportunity to comment.

The presentation about finances is still in development and won’t be finished until Thursday, said Deputy City Clerk Joanna Sanders.

After not holding a town meeting for several years, the City Council met with the public in September in what was billed as a listening session and promised to follow up with a more thorough finance-oriented session within a few months.

A revenue shortfall caused by incorrectly reported sales tax resulted in the city losing $200,000 in projected funds. That led to financial restructuring and layoffs while delaying the meeting.

Several tentative dates were scheduled and canceled, with a date of Monday being postponed till Thursday because Monday was the first night of the Jewish holiday Passover.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 26. 2013 6:17PM
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