The City Council has more money to spend this year than expected.
City Manager Ken Frank gave the council the good news Tuesday in his annual midyear budget update. The final audit of the fiscal year ended June 2006 showed higher revenues and lower expenditures than anticipated.
“In short, everything looks pretty good,” Frank said.
The unexpected revenues came as a result of the city’s vibrant economy in the 2005-06 fiscal year, coupled with economies at city hall, Frank reported.
Most city departments — fire, community development, public works, community service and the city attorney’s office — finished up the fiscal year under budget, with the police department significantly under budget because it couldn’t find new officers to hire.
Revenues markedly above projections included sales tax, interest earnings, state-mandated reimbursements of claims not paid when the state was broke, property taxes in lieu of vehicle fees and construction processing fees — as the issuance of building permits reached a zenith last year, Frank said, as did supplemental property taxes.
Never one to allow the council’s financial euphoria to remain unchecked, Frank warned that property transfers had dropped — reducing property tax expectations for this fiscal year — and new building projects have slowed in recent months.
The council voted unanimously to modify the 2006-07 budget to reflect the audited fund balances and spend the windfall as recommended by Frank.
“We have six or eight recommendations for spending the money — a couple of them very substantial,” Frank said.
He recommended the council set aside $1 million to pay for the extra employee pay period that will occur next year. It catches up with the city every 14 years.
Other appropriation recommendations:
The council had voted to partner with eight affected property owners on the project, the cost to be divided, with the city paying $125,000; the owners, $100,000. The entire amount was appropriated from Measure A receipts, but the council requested the Measure A Oversight Committee to consider the allocation.
After substantial discussion, the committee recommended the city should pay its share out of the general fund and loan the property owners $100,000 from Measure A revenue, with loan repayments to replenish the account.
Less expensive items recommended for funding included: $19,000 to cover the preparation of additional information for Caltrans on the traffic impacts of the proposed Village Entrance project; restoration of the lifeguard tower replacements in the budget; storm drain repairs; $25,000 for the city’s assessed parcels in the Cerritos/Dunning Drive utilities undergrounding district; and $18,000 to match a $240,000 grant secured by the fire department to purchase computers for vehicles and a connection to the countywide dispatch system.
Council approval of Frank’s recommendations reduced the general fund by $3.345 million, the open space fund by $75,000, the parking fund by $19,000 and the street lighting fund by $25,000.