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March 15, 2012 at 2:58 PM

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Seattle revenues show improvement

Revenues improved enough in the fourth quarter of 2011 that the city of Seattle will close the books on the year with a $17 million surplus, $12 million better than projected in November, according to a statement released Thursday by Mayor Mike McGinn's office.

The bad news, though, is that revenues aren't yet strong enough to improve the overall budget forecast for 2012, and the city is still projecting a $40 million shortfall for the year. After three consecutive years of cuts, that will likely mean job losses and program cuts.

The better-than-expected revenues--from improved B&O and sales-tax receipts-- will allow the city to contribute about $6 million into a new rainy-day fund to cushion against future shortfalls. The addition will bring the fund to about $19 million, enough to help weather some of the expected cuts next year and to preserve the city's AAA bond rating, according to the mayor's statement.

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