SeaTac City Council approves $82 million budget; accepts $32,000 donation

By Jack Mayne

Gwen Pilo, the city’s finance manager, told the SeaTac City Council that the city’s general fund was increased by $5 million from earlier estimates, while the street fund was decreased by $1.1 million because of budget amendments after earlier estimates. The Council unanimously approved the budget update.

The Council also unanimously approved a RAVE Foundation donation of $32,000 to renovate the soccer pitch at Valley Ridge Park.

$82 million city budget
Across all funds, the proposed balance is $82 million, “an ordinance I am asking you to approve,” Pilo told the Council.

She noted that current projections show the city will begin to exceed “optimistic revenues” in 2022 if the estimates remain as they are now. The city in the past few years has established a four month reserve fund, which will not become necessary to begin using until 2024, 2026 under the current optimistic projection, unless projections and fund balances are not changed with time.

Pilo said the funds are monitored continually so that changes can be quickly spotted and decisions can be made by a Council committee, Pilo said.

City accepts donation
The Council after a lengthy discussion of an airline logo on a sign, unanimously approved a RAVE Foundation donation of $32,000 to renovate the soccer pitch at Valley Ridge Park.

The RAVE Foundation is the official charitable arm of the Seattle Sounders football club and it selected Tyee High School and Valley Ridge Park as the beneficiary of the 2019 Adopt-A-School program. In addition, the Seattle Sounders Academy will be offering a free, three-day youth soccer camp to SeaTac residents in July and the mini pitch will be available for all park users and the community to use at anytime.

The sketches of the park upgrades showed a logo for Delta Airlines, a major donator of the funds for the renovation. Councilmember Pam Fernald objected to the inclusion in signage of a Delta Airlines commercial logo, or logos from “any commercial entity.” She was told by Maya Mendoza of RAVE that Delta is a major finance source for the RAVE Foundation but the airline has not been promised a logo on proposed signage. The sign was “an opportunity for us to present the chance to make good on their behind the scenes commitment and support they are showing us and also SeaTac.”

No policy
The city has no policy on inclusion of endorsing corporate logos, Fernald was told, but she still objected because saying she did not want the city to be endorsing any commercial entity or setting a precedent for future situations.

“Pretty soon we will be plastered all over because how can you say no when there has been a precedent,” Fernald said, suggesting a plaque noting the gift but no advertising on a field sign.

“Think about setting precedent because you know how many airlines are out there and they will all be coming in saying you did this one,” she said, adding she would begin the process to come up with a policy on commercial logos on city signs.

Councilmember Clyde Hill agreed and suggested maybe a plaque would suffice and Councilmember Joel Wachtel said he did not think a logo is an endorsement, but “an acknowledgment of receipt of funds and frankly, I don’t think that is stepping over the line.” Later, he added the discussion over the logo “was much ado about nothing.”

Councilmember Peter Kwon suggested a time limit on the signage, otherwise it would be in perpetuity as long as the soccer pitch is there.

Councilmember Stanley Tombs said he had no problem with the logo on a sign acknowledging the fund donation.

Mendoza said identical signage is used elsewhere.

Parks, Community Programs and Services Director Lawrence Ellis suggested coming up with another way to acknowledge Delta’s financial assistance for the pitch renovation.

Family members can’t serve
The Council voted 5 to 2 to no longer allow Councilmembers’ immediate family members from being appointed or serve on advisory committees except when a family member was appointed prior to a “Councilmember being elected or appointed, the family member shall be allowed to serve out their term.”

The issue came up when Councilmember Joel Wachtel’s wife was recently removed from a city committee.

In other action
New city employees were announced by City Manager Carl Cole. They are recreation program specialist Nick Arnold, project manager for Federal Way link extension project Shasta McKinley, and administrative assistant Elisa Villegas.

The Council confirmed the mayor’s re-appointment of Doris Cassan and Craig Baker to the Airport Advisory Committee.


One Response to “SeaTac City Council approves $82 million budget; accepts $32,000 donation”
  1. Earl Gipson says:

    I thought we voted for fiscally responsible Councilmembers but the graph for the budget shows differently and projected expenditures will exceed revenues in 2020. I can only conclude that all good things must come to an end and that most electeds seem to be very bad at math/budgets.

    Every meeting there have been new positions and more hiring. Does anyone even know what controlling your recurring costs means? How about living within your means?

    Mayor Sitterley stated we have been saving our “pennies.” So I guess its time to run to the mall and blow it all.

    Councilmember Hill even suggested the Council can always raise property taxes since we didn’t for the past 3 years. Good thinking. Not.

    Here’s an idea. Treat our tax dollars like they were your own. Wait never mind, you may be in debt up to your ears and be doing exactly that. How about treating other people’s money responsibly like you did when you got elected.

Share Your Opinion

By participating in our online comment system, you are agreeing to abide by the terms of our comment policy.

...and oh, if you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!