Verner Announces Large Budget Shortfall For 2010

SPOKANE — Mayor Mary Verner addressed the Spokane City Council Monday night, giving grim news about next year’s budget.

A projected city budget shortfall for 2010 has more than doubled from $2.3 million to $5.5 million.

All city revenues including sale and real estate excise taxes are down. Verner says there is no way to avoid layoffs in 2010.

“Many of the decisions we collectively are going to have to take, we eight elected officials have some political challenges ahead of us because none of these decisions are going to be politically popular,” Spokane Mayor Mary Verner said. “But, in order to sustain our fiscal health we’re going to have to make some really tough decisions.”

The city is looking at cutting nearly all department budgets by four percent.

Future cost cutting measures could include the regionalization of some services and asking employees to pay more of their insurance costs.