Welcome to the City of Spokane’s 2013 Budget Survey. As we work to develop the budget for the coming year, we want to know what’s important to you.

* 1. As the Mayor and his staff develop the 2013 Budget, they will adhere to a number of budget principles that have been affirmed by previous Mayors and Councils. The principles include:

• Don’t spend more than you take in
• Don’t pay for ongoing expenses with one-time money
• Maintain prudent budget reserves
• Maintain strict controls on hiring and spending
• Fund the highest priority City services first
• Use six-year forecast and comprehensive capital planning model (pending) as foundation for all future budget discussions.

Do you agree with these principles?

* 2. Mayor David Condon will propose a no-growth budget for the City’s General Fund for 2013. The City expects to have about $164 million for General Fund services in 2013, about the same as in 2012. The General Fund pays for basic services, including police, fire, libraries, parks, streets, and neighborhoods.

Departments will receive the same level of funding as they received for 2012, and each will make reductions to accommodate any increased costs. This isn’t necessarily a simple task. Our Finance Division has forecast a shortfall between anticipated revenues and programmed expenses of $9 to $10 million.

Do you agree with this strategy?

* 3. The City operates three major utilities—Water, Wastewater, and Solid Waste. The Mayor intends to hold the line on operating expenses within these utilities and propose utility rates for 2013 that include increases consistent with inflation (as expressed by the consumer price index (CPI)), which would be more affordable that previously proposed increases.

Do you agree with this strategy?