Level of Service

The City of Bellingham has entered into a process to examine the City’s “level of service,” which means how the City will carry forward its high level of service to the community in a sustainable way into the future.

The goals of this level-of-service discussion are to acknowledge that City-provided or funded services are a significant contributor to Bellingham’s high quality of life and to identify and implement strategies that ensure they can be sustainably provided into the future. It is critical that sustainable cost reductions, alternative service delivery models and/or additional revenue be identified: one time savings will not address long-term trends, nor will across-the-board cuts or reductions in work force.

Strategies and Solutions

  • Protect key assets and services that are mandated by law. Fulfill local government’s basic duty to protect public health, safety and welfare.
  • Provide other services, programs and facilities that are causal to maintaining Bellingham’s quality of life and serving its citizens.
  • Acknowledge that as a community, we need to prioritize our efforts to be effective. An outcome of the “Great Recession” has been the need for government to be extremely strategic in in how it invests its limited resources.
  • Develop collaborative and cost-effective intergovernmental or private sector solutions to address broader societal issues.
  • Recognize the commitment and contribution that City employees make to our community and avoid solving short- and long-term financial issues at their expense.

Our guiding principles

  • Identify and implement clear and understandable strategies. Strategies may be complex, but their effect will need to be clearly explained to receive broader support.
  • Recommended strategies will need to be both financially and politically feasible.
  • Short term decisions should not be counter to our community’s long-term interests.
  • Focus on strategies that show the potential for greatest yield – don’t get lost in the weeds.
  • Consider “big ideas” that may include structural changes and alternative approaches – service reductions alone are not sustainable.
  • While developing strategies, regularly communicate with the community, internal and external stakeholders.



Mayor’s Office