City Council got its first look at a proposed 2018-19 city budget, and the numbers look better than in the past few years. The up-tick in balances, especially in that of the cash-strapped general fund, is due to extra income generated by Measure A.
Measure A was approved by local voters a year ago, and implemented in October of 2017. The one-cent additional sales tax is estimated to provide an addition $1-1.2 million a year in city income.
The new budget calls for it to reach the $1.2 million mark, with the city spending all but $2,000 of it. A majority of that amount will alleviate burdens on the general fund.
About $210,000 will pay for current police officer salaries and services; $128,000 will cover the parks contract for the J.G. Boswell Park; another $165,000 will take on the Recreation Association of Corcoran (RAC) contact and pool maintenance; and $35,00 covers current park maintenance.
Additionally, Measure A funds have been approved for two new police officer positions ($160,000); $50,000 set aside to augment the fire services contract; and $30,000 reserved for code enforcement. Another $240,000 is earmarked for general fund reserves.
That leaves only $180,000 for new projects to be completed with the additional funds. Those projects will include parks and recreation, beautification and public facilities improvements and pedestrian and vehicular safety.
There will be some shifts in funds in the new budget. The city is maintaining $50,000 in refuse impact fees in the refuse department, but moving $110,000 of those fees to the general fund. This despite the fact that, even with an increase in the refuse collection bill this year, the refuse department shows a projected loss of $81,784 in the 2018-19 budget.
The city will still receive $72,000 in redevelopment agency-successor agency funds in the next budget, but the well dries up after that. The redevelopment agency was dissolved by the state in 2011, and is now set to close. It will be replaced by a countywide successor agency.
The California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) will continue to drain the city budget in upcoming years. The state’s unfunded mandate requires municipalities to cover costs not covered by CalPERS investments. Currently, about 61-cents of every dollar going into the fund is investment earnings. Members provide another 13 cents, leaving employers, like the city, to make up 26-cents on the dollar.
Estimates show the city required to pay over $800,000 in the upcoming fiscal year, with that amount continuing to rise—upwards of $1.4 million—through 2031.
However, along with refuse, the transit department is the only red ink in next year’s budget. That department is expected to lose $34,825. All other departments end the year in the black, including the general fund, which shows a balance of $295,813.
The council is expected to take another look at the proposed budget before final approval in June.