Pleasanton Weekly

News - May 20, 2011

Two-year city budget holds the line on hiring, wages, major projects

Pleasanton sees slight rise in tax revenue, but keeps expenditures down

by Jeb Bing

City Council members gave a thumbs up Tuesday night to a proposed two-year budget for fiscal years 2011-12 and 2012-13 that's not only balanced but also holds the line on hiring, wages and major expenditures.

Presented by City Manager Nelson Fialho and Finance Director Emily Wagner during a two-hour workshop, the new budgets total $189 million in the coming fiscal year that starts July 1 and $192.7 million in FY 2012-13. The city's current fiscal year budget is projected to total $185 million when the year ends June 30. Last year's fiscal year budget totaled $183 million.

Fialho said that despite a continued sluggish economy, Pleasanton has not had to touch its millions of dollars in reserves that had been set aside in advance of the recent recession.

Most of the budget increases over the next two years were attributed to higher costs for health care and services required for municipal operations.

In addition to the key General Fund component, the city's operating budget is comprised of a number of other funds, including Enterprise Funds, Internal Service Funds, Special Revenue Funds and Debt Service & Trust Funds.

Wagner said that projected revenues earmarked for the General Fund are $87.3 million in 2011-12 and $89.7 million in 2012-13.

Tax revenue represents about 84% of the General Fund revenues, with property tax revenues representing 66% and sales tax revenues 25% of that amount.

Although many cities are experiencing sharp declines in property tax revenues as home values have declined in the past several years, Pleasanton's are not. The city is estimating property tax receipts of $48.4 million in the current fiscal year, and the same for FY 2011-12. The 2012-13 budget actually forecasts a slight increase of 2%, with receipts expected to total $49.4 million.

In fiscal year 2008/09, property taxes for Pleasanton totaled $50.4 million.

Wagner pointed recently to a slight "uptick" in sales taxes. As a result, sales tax revenue is expected to increase by 5% on both fiscal years that comprise the city's new two-year budget.

With the projected budget gaining an unofficial approval by the council, department managers representing police, fire, planning, parks and other services will prepare their own budget proposals for review at another City Council workshop June 7. The council is expected to vote on the budget proposals at that meeting, and then to adopt the new two-year budget at its meeting June 21 in time to meet the June 30 deadline for approving a new municipal budget for the coming fiscal year.

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