BURLINGTON — The Burlington City Council voted Tuesday to push back a vote on the city’s 2020 budget, after council members agreed they hadn’t had enough time to discuss staff’s draft.

Several council members, including James Stavig, Chris Loving and Bill Aslett, said they wanted to take another look at cutting spending before committing to increasing taxes, as is requested of them in the draft budget.

“I don’t think there’s anyone up here who’s ready to vote on this budget,” Aslett said.

The council has scheduled two two-hour budget workshops for 6 p.m. on Dec. 3 and Dec. 4.

Interim City Administrator Greg Young presented the council with a draft budget that, between cutting expenses and increasing revenue, would fill a $1,050,000 hole in next year’s budget.

The council has spent the last several meetings discussing the proper balance of increasing taxes and cutting spending.

At its Nov. 7 meeting, the council approved a 5% increase to city property taxes, raising revenue by about $100,000 for 2020.

Young said he is proposing $250,000 in spending cuts, which means the city will have to lay off four people by next year.

“There are four people who currently work for the city that won’t work here come January,” he said.

This leaves discussion of increases to utility taxes and the implementation of a business and occupation tax which, before the delay on the budget vote, Young had planned for the council’s next two meetings.

If discussion on these issues is pushed into 2020, he said the council can pass a budget amendment.

Young said the proposed budget is balanced even without finding the remaining $700,000, but this comes with trade-offs.

Without more revenue, the city’s street fund will go unfunded next year. While Young said the current fund balance is sufficient for 2020, it can’t last through 2021.

— Reporter Brandon Stone: bstone@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2112, Twitter: @Brandon_SVH

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