City Council Adjusts Budget; General Fund Outperforms

In a brief regular meeting, the City Council increased the 2016-17 budget by $171,500.
The additional appropriations are divided into four accounts within the city’s general fund. The City Council voted unanimously on the matter, with the exception of an absent Dr. Allan Yung.
Contract services for a temporary city clerk and an actuarial study are responsible for $91,500 of that amount. General legal services and labor negotiations combined for $70,000 to be added. The remaining $10,000 was the result of a series of urgency ordinances that required expensive public notices.
Overall, the general fund looks to perform noticeably stronger than originally anticipated. The city had planned to use around $2.9 million in fund balances to fill the revenue-expenditure gap, but now it is projected that only $1.1 million will be needed instead.
Part of the reason for the improved prospect is a projected revenue increase of $425,116, thanks mostly to property taxes, but numerous lower-than-anticipated expenses are a significant factor.
The Police Department is projected to finish at $378,500 under budget in personnel costs because of several ongoing officer vacancies and a dispatcher vacancy. Although overtime has been used to fill in those shift gaps, the overtime increases are vastly covered by the drop in salaries and benefits.
The fire department also is expected to come in $77,300 under budget in expenses for the same reason. Although there is a projected increase of $220,000 for overtime, that is offset, again, by ongoing vacancies and also by less-than-anticipated worker’s compensation costs.
Another footnote of the budget review was that $4.6 million in capital improvement projects (CIP) was inadvertently not carried over from the previous year when this current budget was adopted in June. The money was appropriated shortly after and more recently transferred from the general fund to CIP.
Although City Engineer and Parks and Public Works Director Dan Wall said most of those projects had at least been started, if not completed, there are a handful that are anticipated to be fully carried over into the next budget year.

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