Calling the city's 2,000 employees "a business of people, pipe and pavement" Spokane Mayor David Condon outlined his budget proposal Tuesday which defines public safety and streets as his two top priorities.
Overall Condon made public safety his top priority in his 2014 budget proposal, saying that with rising crime there is a need to increase the number of officers on the street. His budget calls for the addition of 25 uniformed officers to the force, bringing their total strength up to 300 personnel.
He added that the city should make "appropriate investments" in the city's fire department but made no specific recommendations regarding staffing levels.
His second priority is the city's streets. His budget proposal calls for an integrated approach to manage Spokane's 920 miles of roads as well as handling water, waste water and storm water. Through this approach, Condon is proposing to increase streets maintenance by 50-percent -- which is currently budgeted at $5 Million -- in 2014.
The third priority in his budget is capital investment, with a six year plan that includes $742,590,037 in investments to a wide range of city departments including Fire, Library, Parks and Recreation and the Police Department.
The two biggest capital investments in the six year plan are a $116 Million allocation for city streets and $390 Million for wastewater management.
His final priority is to rebalance the city's cash reserve accounts, which have been used over the course of the recession the city has faced the last several years to help balance the budget.
"We are living within our means to provide affordable services for residents," Condon said in a written statement. "We stressed accountability and found efficiencies across the organization. We aligned priorities, principles and revenues to match expenses."
Condon said the budget was shaped in part to feedback from city residents, including those who participated in a June 12 Telephone Town Hall, business meetings and neighborhood forums.
"We have received a lot of input that has been invaluable in developing the Program Budget Proposal," Condon said. "We invite and encourage more as we work with the City Council to fine-tune the budget for next year."