City budget woes spur new tax talks

Langley leaders are holding a special meeting Monday to discuss what to do about a projected revenue shortfall of $45,000 anticipated next year.

Among the topics of discussion will include proposed budget cuts and possible new taxes, including a public safety sales tax to fund the police or creation of a transportation benefit district.

The city council’s special workshop is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. on June 24.

The mayor’s report – included in the meeting’s agenda – lists the role of a permanent deputy clerk as a projected expense while excluding a city-clerk administrator, a new finance system, IT upgrades and reserve funding.

The sum of 2024 projected expenses is over $1.9 million, with city employee costs being the highest. The city continues to be fiscally unhealthy, with unfunded reserves and high staffing costs.

“The City of Langley faces structural financial strain that threatens our near- and long-term ability to provide the essential services that our residents and business community rely on,” Councilmember Chris Carlson wrote in a memo.

Recommendations include continuing conservative financial management and considering options to increase income. A public safety sales tax of 0.1%, for example, would raise an estimated $51,648 a year. Currently, the police department costs the city about $750,000 a year, which is more than a third of the general fund budget.

Attendees who do not wish to attend in person at city hall can join by clicking the Zoom link listed on the meeting’s agenda.

The schedule for 2024 budget amendments calls for a preliminary budget amendment hearing on July 15, a council workshop on July 22 and a meeting to authorize budget amendments on Aug. 5.