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Sequim council votes to support B&G Club

The city's $22 million budget for 2010 includes $326,000 in projected spending from reserves and $128,000 for United Way, the Boys & Girls Club and the Clallam Economic Development Council.

It also includes a 1-percent increase in the city's property tax collections, which equals $12,306 or $4 a year for the owner of a $250,000 home.

The council approved both the budget and property tax increase by a 5-1 vote with Councilor Erik Erichsen voting "no," objecting to the social services spending. Councilor Susan Lorenzen was absent.

City Manager Steve Burkett said the budget projects taking $326,000 from the beginning fund balance, or reserves.

But staff used conservative income estimates and will watch its spending carefully so the final figure could be less, he said.

The city's $8.44 million general fund, up from $7.77 million in 2009, is projected to begin the year with a $1,477,000 balance and end with $1,151,000.



Erichsen: Give $s back

The council decided to give $60,000 to the Boys & Girls Club teen program, $50,000 to United Way and $18,000 to the Clallam Economic Development Council.

Eriksen said although it was a deficit budget, it was a good budget except for the social services spending, which was inappropriate.

If the city has enough money to spend on that, it should be returned to the taxpayers, he said.

Councilor Walt Schubert said, "Children are part of our community and deserve to be supported and taken care of."

Erichsen responded, "They're not taxpayers. Contrary to what Hillary Clinton says, it doesn't take a village to raise a kid. I do not agree with Councilor Schubert."



Club posts results

Jerry Sinn, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula board president, said during the public hearing the teen program should be supported because it's not a feel-good program, it produces real, positive results.

"Without this program, there is nothing. There is no safety net."

The program keeps children in school, keeps them from being held back to repeat a grade and reduces teen crime and pregnancy, Sinn said. Membership is projected to increase from 153 to 210 next year because of incoming middle school students. The city's funding accounts for 56 percent of the evening program's funding and without it the program could end in mid- to late summer, Sinn said.



'Pay now or later'

Emily Westcott said she wanted to reiterate what Sinn said, "You have a choice, you can pay now or pay later."

Mayor Laura Dubois said she agreed with Erichsen regarding the deficit spending but she supports this budget because of the recession.

Reach Brian Gawley at bgawley@sequimgazette.com.

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