“The City of Normandy Park might not be a city for much longer because it is going broke.”
That is how news anchor Mark Wright began a story focused on the City of Normandy Park that aired on King 5 News this morning. The story was based on an interview by King 5′s Natasha Ryan with Normandy Park’s City Manager, Doug Schulze.
In the interview Schulze said that the City of Normandy park is facing a budget shortfall of $1.2 million. To address the shortfall, the City has placed a levy on the ballot in the coming November election that would allow property taxes to be raised 30 cents per $1,000 assessed value. According to Schulze the new tax rate would bring in an extra $300,000 a year.
According to King 5 News, Schulze claimed that City leaders are considering contracting services, consolidating services with other cities, or disincorporating to join Burien, Des Moines, or unincorporated King County.
But in an interview with Normandy Park Council Member Stacia Jenkins, we were told that the Normandy Park City Council has not considered disincorporating or joining Burien or Des Moines at any point. Jenkins, who was elected last November after defeating former Normandy Park Mayor Charlie Harris, singly voted against the ordinance passed in June that allowed for the levy to be placed on November’s ballot.
“Increasing the tax may very well be something that we need to do but I don’t believe that increasing the tax before we have found a good long term solution is necessarily responsible.”
Jenkins also told us that though the City Council has discussed the possibility of consolidating or contracting services, staff has yet to produce a proposal that yields a positive result if Normandy Park makes those changes.
According to Burien City Manger Mike Martin, Schulze has contacted him about Normandy Park’s financial shortfall.
“Doug told me that they are in a very serious situation and that they are currently considering all possible options.”
When we contacted Doug Schulze about his interview with King 5 News he explained that the City of Normandy Park needs to find roughly $500,000 in new revenue for the next 2 to 3 years for the City to stay in the black. In next 4 to 5 years the City needs to come up with $1.2 million in new revenue to cover projected operating expenses.
According to Schulze, his answer to King 5 News about disincorporating or merging with Burien or Des Moines was in response to a question about what the last resort would be if Normandy Park does not deal with these funding issues. “City leadership has not discussed these possibilities.” he confirmed.
Schulze gave us this statement about Normandy Park’s situation by email:
“I believe it is important to point out that the City’s financial problem was first identified in 1998 when Henderson & Young completed a Financial Plan and Outlook for the City of Normandy Park. The recommendations from that plan included approximately 40 ideas and solutions to address the City’s structural financial problems. However, the City Council at that time only implemented a few solutions, which resulted in “kicking the can down the road” a few years. Today, the problem is even more difficult to solve because of the poor economy. Members of the Normandy Park City Council have worked closely with city management to identify several short-term solutions as well as long-term solutions to create a sustainable financial position for the City of Normandy Park.
The short-term solutions include the levy lid lift, creation of a Transportation Benefit District, imposing franchise fees on utilities and a 6% utility tax on the Stormwater Utility Fund. In addition, an Economic Development Committee, led by Councilmember Susan West, has been formed to attract and enhance new and existing businesses. Implementation of the short-term solutions is projected to generate approximately $600,000 annually.”
Included below is the original broadcast from King 5 News.