Council approves new budget

By Tamara Steiner and Carina Romano on July 3, 2017

Layout 1Projected 2017-18 revenues will exceed expenditures by nearly $11K. Additionally, an anticipated expense in the ­Successor Agency last year failed to materialize, which gives the city $250,000 for a new Pension Stabilization Fund to help offset market fluctuations in the coming year.

At its June 20 meeting, the City Council passed a balanced budget for FY 2017-18 with room to spare.

At $4,455,080, the General Fund makes up the biggest portion of the city’s total budget, with 53 percent of that going to the police department. With projected revenues of $4,465,880, the General Fund will see a surplus of $10,830, the result of the police department running short-staffed for most of last year.

The current fiscal year will close with a reserve balance in the General Fund of $5,493,492 – 123 percent of next year’s expenses.

“If we had to, we could actually operate for a full year on reserves alone,” said Finance Manager Kevin Mizuno in his budget report. “We would never have to do that, but for a city our size, this is very healthy.”

New efficiencies will result from a reorganization of the maintenance department. The city will eliminate the second Maintenance Supervisor position, Maintenance Worker I employees will be elevated to Maintenance Worker II, and the Maintenance Lead Worker will be renamed Senior Maintenance Worker. In addition to efficiency gains, these moves recognize long-term employees for their many years of service to the city.

Nothing gives financial managers heartburn more than uncertainty. Over the past two years, the city has had to deal with large spikes in employer pension contributions, which have caused large fluctuations in its unfunded liability. The city was able to cover last year’s spike. Due to uncontrollable market swings and actuarial changes the city expects another large spike in 2018.

As a hedge against future fluctuations, the city established a Pension Contribution Stabilization Fund and will contribute $110,000 for fiscal year 2017-18 to help offset the spike. The funds result from an anticipated revenue gap that failed to materialize last year in the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency.

Street rehabilitation and paving projects make up 70 percent of the $2,471,256 Capital Improvement Budget. The remaining budget is split between $503,000 for sanitation and sewer improvements on El Molino Drive and two city parks.

North Valley Park will see playground improvements and new equipment for $165,800. The final $50,000 is allocated to Clayton Community Park for rehabilitation of the lower field.

Carina Romano contributed to this story.

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