• Spokane's general fund performance was even with fund balances largely unchanged
  • The city's pension burden relative to revenues increased

Spokane posted its audited financials for the year ending Dec. 31, 2016. General fund revenues were about even with the previous year at $187 million. Expenses increased 1% to $160 million. Large transfers out led to a negative net revenue margin of -1.0%. The city's general fund balance remained adequate relative to expenses at 24%.

General fund year-over-year performance
Fiscal year ending Dec 31, 2015 Dec 31, 2016 Change % Change
Revenues and expenses
Revenues 187,377,695 186,925,827 -451,868 -0.2%
Expenses 159,174,943 160,101,423 +926,480 +0.6%
Revenues over expenses 28,202,752 26,824,404 -1,378,348 -4.9%
Transfers in 463,420 137,523 -325,897 -70.3%
Transfers out -26,640,585 -28,917,531 -2,276,946 n/a
Net revenues including transfers 2,025,587 -1,955,604 -3,981,191 n/a
Net revenue margin 1.1% -1.0% -2.1%
Fund balances
Nonspendable 931,921 1,285,800 +353,879 +38.0%
Restricted 612,166 607,551 -4,615 -0.8%
Committed 16,101,623 2,866,813 -13,234,810 -82.2%
Assigned 3,687,376 17,100,707 +13,413,331 +363.8%
Unassigned 19,967,264 19,049,126 -918,138 -4.6%
Total general fund balance 41,300,350 40,909,997 -390,353 -0.9%
Total fund balance over expenses 25.9% 25.6% -0.4%
Unrestricted fund balance 39,756,263 39,016,646 -739,617 -1.9%
Unrestricted fund balance over expenses 25.0% 24.4% -0.6%

Pension liability increasing but below average

Spokane's pension funded ratio of 70% (blended across five plans) is low among cities of over 200,000 people. Yet the pension liability relative to revenues, while growing, is below the median. The net pension liability for governmental funds was 51% of governmental revenues, up from 40% in 2015.

Year-over-year ratio analysis
Fiscal year ending Dec 31, 2015 Dec 31, 2016 Change
Fund balance ratios
Total fund balance over revenues 22.0% 21.9% -0.2%
Total fund balance over expenses 25.9% 25.6% -0.4%
Unrestricted fund balance over revenues 21.2% 20.9% -0.3%
Unrestricted fund balance over expenses 25.0% 24.4% -0.6%
Cash and investments over expenses 15.7% 14.1% -1.5%
Revenue and expense ratios
Net revenue margin 1.1% -1.0% -2.1%
Debt ratios
Debt over governmental revenues 78.5% 75.7% -2.8%
Governmental debt per capita 980 913 -67
Pension ratios
Net pension liability over revenues 40.3% 51.4% +11.1%
Pension funded ratio 72.4% 70.2% -2.2%
Pension ADC percent contributed 101.9% 96.8% -5.1%
OPEB ratios
OPEB UAAL over revenues 22.1% 19.4% -2.7%
OPEB funded ratio 12.0% 13.1% +1.1%
OPEB percent contributed 87.2% 87.9% +0.7%

Unemployment rate slightly above State and U.S.

Spokane's median household income trails the larger metro, the state and the U.S. The unemployment rate has also been traditionally slightly higher than the state.

Ratio Median Household Income Unemployment Rate Five Year Population Growth Rate
Spokane city, Washington 45,676 5.3% 0.7%
Metro area comparison
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA Metro Area 52,955 5.0% 1.0%
Compared to Metro -7,279 0.3% -0.3%
State comparison
Washington 67,106 4.4% 1.3%
Compared to State -21,430 0.9% -0.7%
U.S. comparison
United States 57,617 4.6% 0.7%
Compared to U.S. -11,941 0.7% -0.1%

Weakest of large Washington cities

Spokane lies near the eastern edge of the state, far from the booming economies of Puget Sound. The city's financial metrics are weaker than that of larger Tacoma and Seattle.

Credit Spokane, WA (city) Seattle, WA (city) Tacoma, WA (city)
Fund balance ratios
Total fund balance over expenses 25.6% 43.3% 36.9%
Total fund balance over revenues 21.9% 33.3% 39.2%
Unrestricted fund balance over expenses 24.4% 28.0% 33.1%
Unrestricted fund balance over revenues 20.9% 21.5% 35.2%
Assigned and unassigned fund balance over expenses 22.6% 18.0% 32.8%
Assigned and unassigned fund balance over revenues 19.3% 13.8% 34.9%
Cash and investments over expenses 14.1% 35.2% 28.3%
Revenue ratios
Net revenue margin -1.0% 2.8% 2.9%
Debt ratios
Debt over governmental revenues 75.7% 57.1% 51.1%
Governmental debt per capita 913 1,588 862
Pension ratios
Net pension liability over revenues 51.4% 29.6% 0.1%
Pension funded ratio 70.2% 74.1% 93.8%
Pension ADC percent contributed 96.8% 100.0% 98.4%
Pension ADC over primary government revenues 2.9% 3.0% 2.8%
Pension contribution over primary government revenues 2.9% 3.0% 2.7%
OPEB ratios
OPEB UAAL over revenues 19.4% 19.2% 18.9%