“Our goal was to prepare a structurally sound and balanced budget that is aligned with our priorities and takes a major step toward long-term sustainability, and I am confident we have achieved that,” says City Manager Evert Palmer.
“We carefully evaluated our community priorities and allocated our General Fund resources s for public safety, cultural and recreation, community services and general government consistent with our historical allocations.”
During the budget process, staff forecasted revenues of $68.2 million and status quo expenses of $66.1 million, leaving $2.1 million to allocate to high priority needs, including the following:
Park Maintenance -- $332,100
Replacing the Lembi Park baseball infield, and lighting controls at Kemp and Livermore Parks; and replacing synthetic fields at Kemp Community Park and the Sports Complex.
Building Maintenance - $128,400
Cleaning and maintenance of the Historic District parking structure; and various Community Center, fire station and city hall maintenance projects.
Vehicle & Equipment Maintenance - $613,734
Additional police cars: dump truck for Parks & Recreation; hand held radio and mobile computer terminals for Fire.
Program Maintenance - $965,572
Replacing one-time revenue sources with sustainable revenue; funding the Parks utility account and Fire overtime at adequate levels; departmental computers and software; new Library materials; and new Aquatic Center inflatables.
Program Expansion - $56,700
Expanding library hours on Wednesdays; aiding Zoo Sanctuary animal food preparation; and increasing curb and street cleanup to include residential areas.
“The new CIP Budget allows us to reinvent in our community with a variety of important projects including wastewater and water system improvements, new park projects, storm drain improvements, and pavement repair and resurfacing projects,” said Palmer.
He noted that the new budget does not include layoffs or position reductions. The City’s total number of budgeted positions is 415.90, which represents a 29 percent workforce reduction since 2008.
“I expect that number to remain stable in coming years as we continue to carefully scrutinize the need to hire new employees or fill vacant positions,” he said.
The budget includes a 6.8 percent increase in employee benefit costs, including a required 10.7 percent increase in the City’s contribution to PERS. Palmer notes that this increase is offset by a decrease in salaries and wages achieved through collective bargaining agreements that reduced the cost of positions being replaced and also reduced the cost of compensated absences.
“While the City’s fiscal outlook is improving, our $68.2 million revenue projection is significantly below the mark of $82 million in 2008,” said Palmer. “We are encouraged that property taxes are continuing to rise, building activity is up and existing home prices are increasing, with most homes selling at more than the assessed value. However, full economic recovery will be a slow process and we must continue to be fiscally vigilant.”
City officials expect to complete the current fiscal year under budget for the third year in a row. The carry-over funds will help fund priority projects and be invested in the City’s General Fund reserve account.