MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon city staff gave the City Council its first look Wednesday at the city’s 2022 budget.

Mayor Jill Boudreau said if the 2021 budget was about preserving basic services during the COVID-19 pandemic, she wants the 2022 budget to be about restoring services.

The draft $76 million budget is about $1 million larger than the final 2021 budget. It includes taking $1.5 million from the general fund to balance it.

Finance director Doug Volesky said this draft includes four new full-time positions.

Other increases include $114,875 for police body cameras, so the department can comply with new law enforcement reform bills passed by the state Legislature.

Boudreau said most of the spending increases are from scheduled increases in contracts or from the costs of city obligations. About 90% of the budget is essentially non-discretionary.

Volesky said this budget does not include a 1% increase to the city’s property tax rate that the council can opt to take.

The document also leaves out the second half of the city’s $9 million American Rescue Plan Act allocation and new tax revenue devoted to affordable housing and homeless services. The council needs to discuss how the city should budget this money, he said.

Budget discussions will resume at the council’s Oct. 13 meeting and will continue weekly. Volesky said he hopes to put the budget to a vote on Nov. 10.

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

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