Seattle’s financial health is mostly rosy, but a slowdown in the local or national economies that impact business activity or construction would put a pinch on city revenues, according to a report by the city auditor.
City revenues rose 20 percent between 2012 and 2016, but expenses increased by 30 percent over the same time period, according to the report. Increases in the population meant that revenues increased 8 percent per capita over that time. In an email to constituents, Councilmember Lisa Herbold pointed out that those increases barely kept up with inflation.
Revenues have exceeded expenses in each of the past five years, reflecting increases in property tax revenues from voter-approved levies, according to the report. Property taxes make up 27.9 percent of government revenues, and property tax revenues for the city of Seattle increased by over $100 million between 2015 and 2016.
Public safety — police and fire services as well as emergency medical services, domestic violence prevention and disaster response — took up almost a third of Seattle’s expenses. The smallest area of spending, the Seattle Municipal Court, makes up only 1.8 percent of city expenses.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Twitter @AshleyA_RC
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