Mayor’s Message: Priorities and plans for the 2023-2024 biennial budget

By Renton Mayor Armondo Pavone

I have presented my 2023-2024 biennial budget to the Renton City Council. The budget proposal reflects my priorities and those of the Council as stated in the Business Plan.

My priorities are the result of hearing from you, from meetings and conversations with councilmembers, and city staff. As you’ll see below, they revolve primarily around public safety, business development and downtown revitalization, human services, and communication.

I also appreciated the candid and direct input from my 17-person Budget Advisory Committee held earlier this year. I am grateful to those that served this year on the committee, who represented a diverse and critical voice from the community. Their ideas and feedback helped to bring our priorities into sharper focus.

The proposed 2023-2024 biennial budget calls for a total of $581.2 million in expenditures and $584.5 in projected revenue over the biennium.

Some highlights that illustrate my priorities:

Four additional commissioned police officers are proposed to create a new policing district in the downtown core area. Their presence will help restore a sense of safety not only downtown, but throughout the city by enabling more time to patrol and engage with our residents and businesses.

To improve the appearance of the city and prevent crime, I’ve proposed an additional code compliance inspector and three additional park maintenance workers who will lead encampment cleanups on City-owned property and perform landscape maintenance designed specifically to assist in crime-prevention efforts. These positions will impact the city’s visual appeal as well as creating a bridge to our Human Services service providers and programs for some of our more vulnerable community members.

I’ve proposed funding to secure a contract with the FDCARES program, a partnership between Renton Police Department and Renton Regional Fire Authority. This program will provide new capabilities to respond to emergency calls for those suffering with mental health and addiction issues.

Adding to our nearly threefold increase in the city’s human and social services funding the last two years, I am proposing an additional $600,000 of direct service support. This will increase our capacity to offer aid such as rental assistance, utility bill debt forgiveness, and emergency feeding programs.

To enhance our ability to engage meaningfully in two-way dialogue with all members of our community, I have proposed a new Communications & Engagement Manager position in the police department and an Equity manager position in our Equity, Housing, and Human Services Department, as well as additional staff in the City’s Communications and Engagement Division.

My goal in these proposals will be to increase our connection, accessibility, and responsiveness to our community.

And finally, I’ve proposed funding to make better use of the data we have available through our information systems to inform decisions as well as increase transparency about our work while providing easily accessible information to the community.

Our city’s success is impossible without strong partnerships and relationships throughout the community. We work with countless individuals and agencies that go above and beyond for us, just like we aim to do for them, and that’s what makes Renton so great.

My presentation can be viewed online in addition to finance administrator Kari Roller’s presentation of the proposed budget in more detail.

2023-2024 Budget Timeline

Oct. 3 – Committee of the Whole: The mayor delivers the budget message and proposed budget presented to the city council.

Oct. 10 – Committee of the Whole: department presentations and council deliberation

Oct. 17 – Committee of the Whole: department presentations and council deliberation

Oct. 17 – Regular Council Meeting: Public Hearing #2: revenue sources & proposed budget as required by RCW 35A.34

Oct. 24 – Committee of the Whole: department presentations (if needed). Council deliberation/consider draft committee report

Oct. 24 – Regular Council Meeting: Public Hearing #3

Nov. 7 – Regular Council Meeting: adopt committee report and 1st reading of budget-related legislation

Nov. 14 – Regular Council Meeting: 2nd reading and enactment of all budget-related legislation

— Armondo Pavone has served as the the mayor of Renton since 2013.