Spokane City Council approves $1.1 billion 2020 budget

The Spokane City Council Monday approved a $1.1 billion budget for the 2020 year.

The vote follows a very public battle with Mayor David Condon who said Monday the council’s changes to the budget limits the amount of money available for reserves and puts the city’s credit rating at risk.

State law requires cities to have a balanced budget approved before the fiscal year is over. With only a few weeks remaining, council members voted to label the budget as an emergency ordinance, which means Mayor Condon can not veto it.

The top five priorities listed in the budget include:

-Building a more adaptable workforce

Reducing homelessness and protecting vulnerable populations

-Accelerating street repairs and catching up on deferred maintenance

-Reducing property crime and improving emergency response

The budget is roughly $19.5 million more than 2018. It was submitted by Mayor Condon Nov. 2 and council members have been studying and making their own changes ever since.

“The disagreements are over about a 0.025 percentage of this budget,” said Council President Ben Stuckart. “The budget that is before us is not increasing one dollar, it’s a balanced budget,” Councilwoman Candace Mumm said.

Council members dipped into an excess jail fund to help pay for four city council research assistants, and a city council spokesperson.

“The person that we would rely upon to get our message out has been putting out messages criticizing us and in my opinion, inaccurate things in it,” Council President-Elect Breean Beggs said.

Councilman Mike Fagan cast the only vote against the budget — he thinks the city council should scale back.

“It is the perception that what we are now trying to do is to actually compete with the mayor’s office,”Fagan said.

Councilwoman Karen Stratton said it’s not about creating more power on the council, adding that extra council positions are needed because of the current breakdown in communication at city hall.

“You have employees that you call for help, and they literally will look at you and say ‘I’m not allowed to talk to you.”‘

To view the full 2020 budget proposal, click here.