The City of Bellevue is fully supportive of the Fire Department and the excellent fire fighters, paramedics and EMT’s serving the community. To that end, we have attempted to bring attention to the lack of resources available to operate the department with necessary staffing and equipment replacements to help grow the department to a level meeting the community’s needs.
The city administration identified to the City Council in December of 2017, at a Strategic Planning session, that preparation of the 2018-2019 budget would be very difficult and that the city needed to pursue an additional revenue stream to support its services to the community. As the Fire Fighter groups have indicated, a possible restaurant tax was discussed. That possibility was accepted by the City Council in early 2018 when it unanimously approved the Strategic Plan. The exact form of the revenue stream would be determined.
When the budget development process was initiated in April, however, support to proceed with a restaurant tax or other revenue source was not indicated by the City Council. Councilmembers were advised again of the difficult situation lack of resources creates for all city departments. The proposed budget also calls for the elimination of several positions in the administrative offices and public works operations and not filling five currently vacant police officer positions.
Given the limitations of the revenue projections anticipated, the city administration, with input from all city department directors, had to prepare and present a budget. Unfortunately, that recommended budget includes the tough choices that had to be made.
The budget will have a hearing on Monday, August 27, at which we anticipate receiving public input on the recommendations provided therein. Following that input, adjustments, if appropriate, can be made to the recommended budget. It is clear, however, this problem cannot be ignored.
Mayor Sanders has expressed “Public Safety is of utmost importance to me and the citizens of Bellevue. I strongly ask the members of the Bellevue City Council and Budget Task Force to reconsider their positions and work with the city administration and departments to explore additional revenue sources that will enhance our public safety without hindering other basic city services the city provides. I am confident that we can work together to find a solution to this funding need which is a priority, in my opinion.”
Please contact City Administrator Joe Mangiamelli at 402-293-3023 if you have any questions.