Anticipating an infusion of cash from the city’s recently enacted sales tax hike, Finance Director David Cain was able to deliver an upbeat proposed 2017-18 budget to the City Council at a study session Monday, with a few perks added.
In contrast to past years – when structural deficits forced the city to prune its expenses, delay services and capital improvements – this year’s budget met with more positive reactions from the City Council.
“We’re fortunate to be in this position today,” said Cain. “Thanks to Measure HH we’re able to do some things. We’re in a better place than many of our neighbors.”
Not only was Cain able to meet expenses without going into cash reserves for the first time in three years – and only the third time in nine years – the city will begin working on several improvement projects and can hire a new battalion chief/administration specialist for the fire department and two police officers.
The additions are courtesy of an expected $4.2 million in revenue from Measure HH, the 1 percent sales tax hike approved by voters in November. Collection of the taxes began in April and the first dispersal is expected in September.
The proposed budget goes to the City Council for consideration at its June 6 meeting.
“This is not a windfall,” Cain said of the added money. Rather he said it was aimed at “specific targets,” identified by residents as priorities, such as public safety and essential services.
Because the exact amount of money the city will receive is still unknown, Cain said last year’s budget was used as a baseline for the upcoming year. A more exacting mid-year review will be conducted in January, Cain said, once receipts from the tax arrive.
Overall the city’s budget this year is projected at $78.99 million in spending, including capital improvement projects such as installing solar panels and LED lights, repaving roads and making park improvements and playground repairs. While much of the budget…