Balanced Budget Adopted by City Council
New fiscal year begins July first
Preserving City services and public safety top budget priorities
BALANCED BUDGET ADOPTED, SERVICE LEVELS REMAIN UNCHANGED
LAKE ELSINORE The City Council has approved a balanced budget effective July 1, despite a challenging economic outlook for the year ahead. Preserving City services and public safety are top budget priorities.
“The good news is most residents and businesses will not see any decline in City services,” said City Manager Robert Brady. That is because departments have been steadily cutting expenses as the City enters its third straight year of declining revenues.
The $27.5 million operating budget is $2.4 million less than last year and relies primarily on cuts in labor expenses, law enforcement contract reductions and $1.1 million in “rainy day” savings to close the budget gap.
Declining revenues, such as sales tax, property tax and development impact fees, are the biggest contributors to a $3 million deficit that City Council and staff painstakingly closed to balance the budget.
The most visible cost saving measure—closing City Hall on Fridays—should affect the fewest number of City customers. This schedule is less disruptive to business than scattering unpaid furlough days throughout the year, labor representatives told the City Council last month.
To help balance the budget, City employees agreed to salary and benefit reductions of approximately 10%. The total labor savings from these measures is $1.1 million. Employees have accepted taking two unpaid days per month; their annual cost of living adjustment and merit pay have been eliminated and early retirement has also been offered to eligible employees.
The City’s general law enforcement contract with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department will see a reduction of two motor officers, elimination of a narcotic task force officer and a minimal reduction in daily patrol service hours.
In addition to the savings above, a transfer of $1.1 million in supplemental revenue will be used to balance the budget. The City’s “rainy day” fund was established using surplus revenue from prior years and will have a balance of $1.7 million after this year’s budget transfer.
The City's $3.5 million emergency reserve will remain untouched.