The population of Ferndale is growing, and that growth is beginning to pay off for the city.
Instead of a projected $18,000 deficit for 2015, the city of Ferndale will receive nearly $180,000 of unexpected revenue for its general fund this year.
The increase in revenue, Ferndale communications officer Riley Sweeney said, is directly linked to the rapid population growth of the city.
“I’m afraid the secret is out. Ferndale is a fantastic place to live, work and play,” Sweeney said. “The revenue growth is just part of that story and next year could be even bigger.”
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The 2015 budget estimated the year-end cash balance in the general fund at $1,321,725, which would have represented a roughly $18,000 deficit. Instead, Ferndale is estimated to end with just over $1.5 million in the general fund.
Through November 2015, Ferndale has already received a total of $134,697 in surplus revenue from commercial or residential permit fees and real estate excise tax.
Most of that extra money, according to city data, is coming from residential or commercial permit fees or real estate excise tax — both signs that people are opening businesses and moving to Ferndale. Through November 2015 the city already received a $81,397 surplus in permit fee revenue, and $53,300 in surplus real estate excise tax revenue.
Ferndale has been one of the fastest-growing cities in the state in recent years. The population has grown 2.6 percent a year since 2010, making it the fifth fastest in Washington during that period. Only Snoqualmie, Issaquah, West Richland and Pasco have grown faster.
The 2014 population was 12,704, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Next year, the city estimates $188.3 million in scheduled private projects, meaning the city will receive more building permits.
The 2016 budget approved by City Council earlier this month includes money allotted for a new utility billing clerk and a new public works employee. In addition, the city is able to devote more resources to providing better customer service at the police department and city hall, Sweeney said.
“Ferndale is growing,” Sweeney said, “and our budget is growing to meet those needs.”