Des Moines has a surplus of over $7 million for first time in years


Des Moines City Councilmembers applaud “over $7 million” fund balance on Mar. 1, 2018.

By Jack Mayne

The city of Des Moines has had many budget woes over the past few years, often scraping up unusual responses, but that has changed this fiscal year as City Manager Michael Matthias told the Council study session on Thursday (March 1) that its current general fund balance is “over $7 million.”

Matthias said the staff had anticipated a revised budget would be $4.5 million “but the actual was $1.3 more than that” so $5.8 million came in, giving the city ending fund balances of over $7 million.

“That is incredibly good news for the city,” Matthias told the Council, adding that the work of getting the city financially healthy was aided by a quality city staff.

“When was the last time you had a fund balance close to that number,” asked Mayor Matt Pina.

“I don’t know,” Matthias shrugged, the Councilmembers, staff and the audience gave the surplus applause.

“That is the hard work of everybody getting us back to a healthy city,” Pina said.

New system for reports
City Manager Michael Matthias introduced a new process of monthly reports to Council, replacing the previous weekly reports. He said that each department head will tell Council of the top items in their sphere.

“We intend to use (Council’s monthly) study sessions as an opportunity to go through this process,” he said. Each department head will relate “three or four bullet points relative to activities in the past month,” he said. A resulting Power Point presentation will be used at the meeting and it will be posted on the city website for public review.

Under the City Manager, the first report shows meetings Matthias had, including one with Josh Brown, executive director of the Puget Round Regional Council and a kick-off meeting for a new phase of the Port of Seattle Economic Development grant and a reception for new Port Executive Director Stephen Metruck.

Chief Operations Officer Dan Brewer said he filled in with Matthias when he took a vacation and, among other items, worked n the Highway 509 extension and the Sound Transit Federal Way link extension and discussions involving Highline College.

Other city departments introduced their part of the new report and made comments to the Council study session.

You can download the full PowerPoint as a PDF here.

Violent Crime, new officers
Police Chief George Delgado said that “violent crime continues to plague South King County,” and the department is continuing to meet with other city departments, and King County and Seattle agencies “to talk about sharing intelligence, sharing crime trends” and doing a better job of networking with regard to primary offenders “to work closer to solve those crimes.”

Federal and other police agencies are working better with smaller departments, getting them involved in the “significant issue” of violent crime in the area.

The chief said the city now has two officers who have graduated the police academy and are now in field training with the department, which means they are partnered with experienced officers to learn the methods and requirements of the Des Moines Police Department. One additional person is attending the academy and background investigation for two prospective candidates for the department are underway.

Community Development Director Susan Cezar said that people at earlier meetings wondered about the use of “utilizing engineered structures either made from repurposed shipping containers or custom-designed as space for retail businesses prior to more permanent structures being developed.” She said information on these is now on the city’s Website.

Landmark tour
Cezar said upwards of a thousand people toured the Landmark property and that no applications for land use changes have yet be received. She also noted that a video of the reception was made by The Waterland Blog and is available on the blog’s Facebook page here.

City Attorney Tim George said Assistant City Attorney Matthew Hutchins has handled two King County Superior Court appeals of the city’s red light camera citations and both were decided in favor of the city’s process.

Des Moines Assistant Harbormaster Scott Wilkins said the city participated in the 2018 Seattle Boat Show where attendance and boat sales were increased. He also said that 2018 marina parking revenues were up at just shy of $23,000.

Retiring
Patrice Thorell, city parks and recreation director – herself slated to retire – said the city received a $245,000 King County grant for the Steven J. Underwood Memorial play area project and one of $23,000 for the Midway Park summer playground program. She also told Council that the new park on property donated by Michael G. Bundy will be called Mary Gay Park, “in honor of the original homesteader.”

Later in the meeting, Matthias said he was going to miss “fighting for Patrice, but Patrice is just an amazing person and you probably will never run into anyone in public service more committed to their community.” Her last day is Jun 30.

Brandon Carver, the city’s public works director, says the 251st slide damage contract bids have come in and he will bring the bid to the Council on March 22 to award the work. He also said the city has competed the replacement of the structural steel brackets on the 239th stairs viewing platform upgrade.

Carver said a 24-year senior facilities maintenance worker Dick Stites has given notice of retirement, effective March 29.

City Clerk Bonnie Wilkins said Des Moines received 123 public record requests in February and 19 remain unfulfilled often because the matters are still open and on-going. She said the spring edition of City Currants magazine should be out to residents by March 10.


Comments

6 Responses to “Des Moines has a surplus of over $7 million for first time in years”
  1. Cheryl Johnson says:

    Happy to see that the city can and will replace broken parts, ie: brackets on steel steps. We fisher people have requested for a few seasons, that the cleats be replaced on the Redondo landings. It is dangerous not to have all the cleats to moor a boat. Last year, as I remember, there were 11 missing. Boats cannot be safely contained without cleats. I called the request in, several people showed up but not one cleat was replaced.

  2. That Guy says:

    You know it’s funny, when anything negative happens in Des Moines, you have the usual cast of clowns pointing fingers at Dave Kaplan, Matt Pina, Melissa Musser, and the rest of City government. When there is success, it’s amazing how quiet these negative Nancy’s are.

  3. John Riley says:

    Could use a road replacement for S223rd Street

  4. Marty says:

    If the seawall is as bad off as they say, and its destruction as dangerous as predicted, doing anything but putting pretty much all of the $7 million into its repair would be the council neglecting their duty to keep those in Des Moines safe. We already received $2 million from the city. With this $7 million we’re only $3 million off from having enough to fix it entirely.

  5. RedondoRick says:

    Marty, that $2 million didn’t come from the city…

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