Following its earlier workshop, the Calimesa City Council unanimously approved Monday night its 2021-22 fiscal year budget, with a small deficit and $1 million set aside for its Pavement Management Pro-gram.

City Manager Bonnie John-son presented the budget, which was revised from the workshop to reflect the council’s desire to set up a reserve for much-needed street improve-ments.

“There were no specific line-item changes made to the proposed budget during that presentation, however, the city council did direct staff to set aside $1 million from the general fund, as a reserve, to begin to fund the Pavement Management Program,” John-son said at the June 7 meeting.

Initially, staff and council were planning to discuss what streets would be included in the program at the next council meeting in June. However, because one of the council members will be out of town, it was decided to wait until July or August to prioritize street repairs, which are projected to total $7.3 million in expenditures.

“I think, given the priority nature of this discussion, it would be better to have a full council,” Johnson said.

She then gave a brief overview of Calimesa’s approximate $23.5 million budget before council voted.

Calimesa is projected to bring in about $14.6 million in revenue and also spend about $14.6 million. Likewise, the city’s general fund, its biggest operating fund, is expected to bring in about $8 million in revenue and need about $8.1 million for expenses, with 60% going to police and fire services.

Because of one-time expenses, Calimesa is expected to have a deficit of $98,066. The projected deficit stems from a housing element update, riding lawn mower and new flooring at city hall and the planning department, Johnson said, and be covered by using funds from the city’s reserves.

Even though Calimesa will be tapping into its reserves, the general fund is expected to maintain a balance reserve of about $6 million or 74% of proposed expenditures on June 30, 2022. The city’s policy is to maintain a balance reserve of 35%.

Besides the Pavement Management Program, Johnson noted there are several major ongoing infrastructure projects such as a large storm drain project on County Line Road, several street improvements and the Cherry Valley Boulevard and Singleton Road interchanges.

“There are a lot of good things happening,” she said, “and we continue to make strides in the area of infrastructure to meet the current development activity.”

Bus service ending

Mayor Pro Tem Linda Molina announced at the council meeting that Calimesa will be losing its bus service, effective July 1, 2021.

After a comprehensive analysis of Beaumont’s transit system last year, it was recommended to eliminate its route in Calimesa, which connected to other routes outside of the city, because of low ridership.

“I wanted to bring this forward only because it has been decided that, effective July 1, there will be no more bus service to Calimesa. I thought it was important enough to get that information out to the community,” Molina said. “It’s a service that we are losing for our community.”

Molina was disappointed Beaumont did not seek out Calimesa’s input before making a decision.

“While it’s a business decision, we weren’t a part of the public hearing or had an opportunity to speak on it,” she said.

Councilwoman Wendy Hewitt wondered about the ridership.

“Do you have any numbers on how many people actually ride the bus in our community?” she asked Molina.

“The pandemic hit and so hardly anyone rode the bus, but ridership is down 60% to 70% everywhere,” Molina said. “They didn’t really cite exact numbers, but they were very low.”

Parks and Recreation

The establishment of a Parks and Recreation ad hoc committee was approved Mon-day night, with Mayor Bill Davis and Councilman Jeff Cervantez as its members.

The ad hoc committee would work with staff and other cities on ways to incorporate recreational facilities and parks into future developments.

The idea was prompted when City Manager Johnson was contacted by other regional cities about projects that they are considering.

“For example, recently the city has been approached by Beaumont Cherry Valley Recreation and Park District,” she said. “Their general manager has reached out to myself, as well as … our mayor and they would like to have dialogue with us about future projects and things that they may be undertaking.”

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