Budget the spotlight of Condon's first State of the City address

Published On: Oct 09 2012 09:38:11 AM PDT   Updated On: Oct 08 2012 11:49:44 PM PDT
SPOKANE, Wash. -

After being in office for nearly a year, Spokane Mayor David Condon presented his first State of the City address to the City Council Monday night.

The mayor's primary focus during his speech was the city's 2013 budget.

Condon delivered his budget to the City Council more than three weeks before it was due.

"In many ways we have taken the first steps in redefining our city and how it looks and what we can provide for our most needed resources," said Condon.

This is the fifth year the city has had to deal with a budget shortfall. In order to have a balanced budget, the city cut $10 million. Some of the cuts included eliminating 100 city positions of which 65 vacant positions would remain unfilled. The positions also include seven management positions.

Approximately 35 city employees will either lose their job or be transferred to another department.

"We have done a lot of things; we have done a lot of reorganizing of how our departments are structures and how we are delivering services," Spokane city spokesperson Marlene Feist said.

Condon's budget proposal would also eliminate the Arts and the Weights and Measures departments. However, it tries maintain jobs that are required to keep the city safe.

"My budget works to retain policy services in the end. We will not lay off any police officers. I believe it is vital to keep all current police officers, in particular, to avoid erosion of services," said Condon.

But the proposal would cut nine vacant relief firefighters jobs and 21 vacant positions within the police department.

The mayor admits working on the budget wasn't easy. In fact he's already given lay off notices to several city workers. But the city says many of those who get the pink slip could be re-hired at city hall for a different role. 

The City Council will need to finalize and approve the budget before the end of the year.