Depiction of Auburn’s spending during the first quarter of 2021. Data from Auburn fiscal report. Graph by Henry Stewart-Wood/Auburn Reporter

Depiction of Auburn’s spending during the first quarter of 2021. Data from Auburn fiscal report. Graph by Henry Stewart-Wood/Auburn Reporter

How did Auburn spend your taxes?

The largest expense during the first quarter was the Auburn Police Department.

Auburn spent $17.8 million during the first quarter of 2021 — $2.1 million less than the city planned for in its budget.

The majority of the $17.8 million was spent on personnel, amounting to $11.2 million. Supplies and services were the second largest expenditure, accounting for $4.1 million, and “other expenditures” cost the city $2.5 million.

By far the largest expense during the first quarter was the Auburn Police Department. The police department cost the city $7.6 million during the first three months of 2021. If jail is included under the police umbrella, the number jumps to $8.7 million, according to the city’s fiscal report.

More money was spent on the Auburn Police Department and jail than on the Parks, Arts and Recreation, Community Development, Public Works, Human Resources, Community and Human Services and every other city department combined.

From Jan. 1 through March 31, 2021, Auburn brought in $13.7 million in revenue. This exceeded the city’s expected $13 million in revenue. Of the $13.7 million, sales taxes accounted for the largest chunk of the revenue at $5.8 million, and property taxes accounted for just over $1.2 million of the total revenue. Other taxes, service fees and other revenues brought in a combined $6.7 million.

Auburn’s sales tax is 3.6%, and the state’s rate is 6.5%, so people in Auburn pay a 10.1% sales tax. Washington has the fourth-highest average sales tax rate in the country, and only Tennessee, Louisiana and Arkansas have higher sales taxes.

The city spent around $60,000 repairing local streets during the first quarter. The city spent an additional $625,000 preserving arterial streets. Arterial street preservation is funded by local utility taxes such as garbage collection and electricity.

Auburn City Council is responsible for allocating funds to departments.


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