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August 26, 2009 at 10:16 AM

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Bellevue tax revenues declining, layoffs possible

Posted by Katherine Long

King County is considering shuttering 39 neighborhood parks. The Seattle city budget has a $72 million budget hole. And yes, even the city of Bellevue is pinching pennies.

Like so many other cities, Bellevue is facing declining revenues because of the recession. The city has so far seen a $14 million shortfall in its biennial operating budget, or about 4.4 percent.

To make up the difference, the city has eliminated out-of-state travel unless necessary, is only filling critical vacancies and is making smaller trims, such as cutting the grass less often in neighborhood parks, said spokesman Tim Waters. In mid-September, the city council will begin talking about the possibilty of layoffs as part of budget adjustments that would happen in December.

In May, the shortfall in city revenue was $5 million, but later this summer it had risen to $14 million, Waters said. A new revenue estimate is expected out next week. Most of the city's tax base comes from the sales tax -- largely, retail sales and auto sales -- so the decline in consumer spending has hurt the city. Belleuve also receives a chunk of its revenue from the business and occupation tax and property taxes.

The capital improvement projects budget is down as well, Waters said. About $62 million in capital projects has already been deferred, and another $34 million in projects will need to be deferred as well.

The city's 2009-2010 budget was approved last December and went into effect in January. The city council will begin working on the 2011-2012 budget starting next year. Here's more information about the city budget.

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Meet the bloggers

Video | Get to know Bellevue Blog reporters Nicole Tsong and Katherine Long.