A Quick Overview of Woodway’s Budget
The Town, although called a “Town”, is legally a city. We have all the rights, authority, legal obligations, and requirements of a city the size of Edmonds or Shoreline. The functions of our government fall into three broad categories: Mandatory, Essential, and Discretionary. Examples are listed below.
While most of our mandatory responsibilities are not things that most residents would notice, a majority of residents would likely agree that maintaining public safety and maintaining the visual appearance of our Town are two very important functions of Town government. The way we maintain our residential streets and conduct police patrols in residential neighborhoods does represent a higher level of service than is provided in our neighboring cities. Outside of these functions, however, the Town doesn’t do many other discretionary things. That is because we always have had a small, efficient government, and we do not have the resources to provide a lot of truly discretionary services.
By law, we are required to have a Mayor, a Council, a clerk, a treasurer, a building official, an attorney, and a police chief. We also are required to perform the functions of a building inspector, a planner, and certain responsibilities generally performed by public works. There are also mandatory costs, such as State Auditor charges, County election charges, etc.
Police officers, a fire department, or public works are not included on the list of mandatory positions/responsibilities. Traffic enforcement, police patrols, and even police response are not required by law. Nor are fire protection or emergency medical services. Paved roads, surprisingly, are not required. However, most residents would categorize each of these as essential.
Lastly are items that are discretionary. A non-exhaustive list of these items would include parks, roadside mowing/line trimming (except for life/safety reasons), beautification, and community events, such as the Town Fair.
Governmental accounting in Washington State is regulated by the State Auditor’s Office. There are detailed regulations for how money is receipted and expended. Each fund has its own independent budget that cannot be mingled with any other fund.
General Fund (001)
The general fund provides for the general operation of the municipality. Revenue sources are taxes and general revenues, including but not limited to property taxes, local sales taxes, franchise fees, liquor taxes, utility taxes, motor vehicle fuel taxes, transportation-related fees, fines and forfeitures, license fees, permits, recreation fees, and miscellaneous other revenues that support general government operations. Categories of expenses in this fund include operation of administrative and financial services; staff training; legal and general engineering; legislative costs; police, fire, and emergency services; public works and parks; public health and welfare; and permitting and land use.
Replacement Reserve Fund (002)
The replacement reserve fund was created by the Council to set aside money for capital purchases, such as new vehicles. Any unused amounts in this fund roll over from year to year.
Deposit Fund (004)
The deposit fund was created by the Council to account for all revenues and expenditures associated with refundable and retainage deposits for facility rental, development projects, etc. Money receipted to this fund will be refunded when the development project is complete or when the facility rental is finished.
Affordable Housing Sales Tax Fund (107)
The affordable housing sales tax fund is a special revenue fund established to account for the receipt of sales tax dollars specially allocated by the State and the associated expenditures for affordable and supportive housing.
Capital Projects Fund (Real Estate Excise Tax) (301)
The capital projects fund is established to account for and report financial resources that are restricted, committed, or assigned (intended) for expenditure for capital outlays including the acquisition or construction of capital facilities or other capital assets. Such expenditures may include, but are not limited to, public buildings and facilities, parks, and debt service associated with such capital projects. The main source of revenue for this fund is real estate excise taxes, which are collected every time a property is sold and can only be used as prescribed by state law. The tax is separated into two distinct parts, each levying a tax of ¼ % on each property sale, and each with its own allowable expenditures including capital expenditures and land acquisition for parks.
Stormwater Utility Fund (420)
The stormwater utility fund is for the planning, construction, maintenance, and operation of the Town's stormwater system. All revenues in this fund are only allowed to be used by the stormwater utility.
Custodial Fund (645)
The custodial fund is established to account for all nonrevenues and all nonexpenditure disbursements, such as the county and state portions of traffic violations fines and the state building permit fee. This is money that does not belong to the Town but that we are required to receipt and remit to the proper agency.
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