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Folsom City Council adopts budget, eliminates 8 positions

Officials say plan doesn't dip into reserves
By: Don Chaddock, Managing Editor
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FOLSOM, CA - After many years, Folsom has seen an increase in its budget.

During the April 23 Folsom City Council meeting, they adopted a $65.9 million operating budget for fiscal year 2013-14. According to officials, the budget doesn’t dip into the reserves.

The new budget does see a loss of eight positions, one in fire, two in community development, one in finance and another four in public works, according to Finance Director Jim Francis.

According to Francis, there were no cuts in the hours of operation for any of the departments.

Sue Ryan, the city’s public information officer, said only one of the eliminated positions was staffed.

The mayor is optimistic about the budget.

“This budget will allow us to maintain our priorities without reducing or eliminating our most important programs and services,” said Mayor Steve Miklos, a longtime member of the council. “General fund allocations for public safety, cultural and recreation, community services and general government are at a level similar to previous years. We are not tinkering with these percentages because we believe we have achieved a proper balance to support our community’s priorities.”

Miklos said the new budget is “structurally sound” and take “vital steps toward long-term sustainability” by reducing dependence on one-time revenues and use of fund balances. He said there is also a “modest reinvestment” in infrastructure equipment and facilities.

“It’s the first time in five years we’ve had an increase in the budget,” Francis said.

But he cautioned there are still potential problems on the horizon.

In his presentation to the council, he pointed out expenditures continue to outpace revenue and there is a “continuing structural imbalance.”

Property tax revenue losses seem to have tapered off. In 2009, the city brought in $19.9 million in property tax. That fell to $19.8 million in 2010, and fell off a cliff in 2011 with $18.3 million. In 2012, it fell to $17.9 million and the projected 2013 revenue is $17.3 million. They expect to bring in $17.7 million in 2014.

Sales tax revenue has been on a steady rise since 2010, when it was at $13 million. It was $15 million in 2011 and $16 million in 2012. The city is projecting $16.8 million in 2013 and $17.5 million in 2014.

“The good news is that property and sale tax revenues are up a bit and that improves our fiscal outlook,” Miklos said. “Building activity is on the rise and we’re seeing a steady increase in residential and commercial development.”

City Manager Evert Palmer said caution is still necessary, even though the city expects to finish the current fiscal year under budget.

“We continue to implement structural reorganizations to increase efficiencies and create capacity,” Palmer said. “We are compelled to eliminate eight staff positions across several departments. This reduction brings our workforce to 412, which is a 29.5 percent reduction since 2008.”

Francis said there should be no impact on residents.

“Not that the public will see, we believe,” he said. “Most of the cuts were internal services, such as an information technology position in finance which serves the department internally, but not the public. It might delay the response with computer (issues), but that’s all.”

To see the city budget, and the city’s presentation to the council, go to www.folsom.ca.us and click on departments > management and budget > city budget.

To see the presentation to the city council, click http://www.folsom.ca.us/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?blobid=19182

To see the budget, click http://www.folsom.ca.us/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?blobid=19183