Yucaipa City Council unanimously approved the 2019/20 budget review at the Oct. 28 council meeting.
In June 2019, the city council approved the 2019-20 adopted budgets for all of the funds of the city, including the General Fund, Special Revenue, Capital Project, the Internal Service and Agency Funds.
According to the agenda report, the updated projection reflected, closing the 2018-19 fiscal year, actual revenues exceeded expenditures. This is the direct result of three factors which included budgeted surpluses in the amount of approximately $444,000; spec- ific revenue accounts exceeding budgeted projections by the amount of approximately $600,000; and savings in the expense accounts in the amount of approximately $1,518,000.
The updated projection reflected, closing the 2018-19 fiscal year, actual revenues exceeded expenditures by $2.5 million in the general fund.
“This is a first quarter budget review and some adjustments in revenue based on accruals to date or projections are pretty straight forward,” said Ray Casey, city manager.
“Use of net revenues for last fiscal year beyond the net revenues have already been allocated. There are a number of expense issues and one of the larger items is the Sheriff’s Department contract increase that was recently negotiated and passed on to contract cities.”
Casey said that by itself is about a half million dollars increase overall and some was anticipated but not all of it.
In addition, Casey reported a request made by the equestrian arena committee for full lighting in the cover with a commitment from the rodeo committee to return net proceeds over the next several years to help pay for that.
“There are a number of staffing requests and council has been supportive over the years in organizational enhancement efforts,” said Casey. “This is a relatively large request in terms of some of those adjustments including some new positions and reallocations of positions. It falls under several categories … doing more with public works staff moving away from some contract services and in addition to that, we opened up a Performing Arts Theatre this year and some park improvements as we need to expand our amenities in the community.”
The city will also need to comply with major housing element requirements, including the need to build additional housing in the community, which would require more staff.
“An early retirement incentive program for three to seven employees to take advantage of was projected and that would establish the budget,” said Casey. “It also allows for some opportunity to reallocate those resources either for hiring at first step for replacement positions or reallocating positions entirely.”
Council weighed in on the budget review.
“On this early retirement benefit package, you say it is voluntary but I would also like to include that it is at your discretion because in some cases, it might be detrimental to the organization to allow that to happen (if too many take it at once),” said councilman Dick Riddell.
“Once council approves it, I would not have the authority to pick and choose those that may want to take advantage of it,” said Casey. “The intent is to create a short three-week window for folks to make that decision and they would retire by the end of January.”
Riddell asked if it was only for this time and not for future years.
“We’ve only done this one other time and I don’t anticipate doing this any time in the near future beyond this request,” said Casey.
Riddell voiced concerns about avoiding dipping into the city reserves.
“There’s a lot of money being moved around here and I assume it all has been double checked and none of these proposals dips into our reserves,” said Riddell. “We are not sticking extra general money into it.”
Casey replied, “No, you still have that same fund balance that you saw at the beginning of the year.”
Councilwoman Denise Allen was impressed with the review.
“I just want to congratulate staff and my fellow council members on their fiscal conservancy in terms of the tax payer dollars,” said Allen. “The fact that we continue to budget high and figure that our revenues are going to come in low so we are with $850,000, that we can then use to enhance the services to our public without any impact on our budget. We did what we said we would do including the lighting at the equestrian center. We are going to be able to do this because of everybody being so conservative fiscally. Good job.”
“I echo that and every year it is the same thing as we estimate what we are going to get and we get more and it is fantastic,” said Mayor Bobby Duncan. “We are one out of 490 (cities in the state California) not to go bankrupt.”
For more information, visit the Yucaipa city website at yucaipa.org.