City budget shows recovery from grim recession

By From page A13 | March 14, 2014

The mid-year city budget report was a snoozer — no great highs, no low lows — but slow, steady recovery has its own merit. City Financial Director Dave Warren made his “Warren Report” to the Placerville City Council March 11 and summed up the extensive report with, “We anticipate year-end operating expenditures to be within the existing operating budget for most funds,” and “City Council and management continue to operate the city in a prudent and responsible manner.”

Breaking the report down, Placerville unemployment decreased from a high of 15 percent in January 2013 to 10 percent in December. Real estate sales spiked last April and May and were lower than 2012 the rest of the year, but the average price for a residential sale was consistently higher. Sales tax revenues are on the increase, up by 9.35 percent in the third quarter of 2013 and forecasted to continue to show an increase, although the actual fourth quarter results will not be received until mid-March.

City revenues from Parks and Recreation showed slight growth while fees from construction permits and plan checks were down. New housing permits were considerably down in 2013.

“I’m confident that things will turn around when the building season begins,” said Community Development Director Pierre Rivas. “We have a number of projects that are coming up.”

General Fund revenues were higher than expenditures, giving a General Fund surplus of $108,000. Water and sewer enterprise funds are both forecast to have higher expenditures than revenues, but the city was able to make its first full debt-service payment of $1.5 million toward the 30-year $42 million loan for the wastewater treatment plant.

The Measure H fund revenue, due to increase in sales tax revenues, is forecast to  increase by almost $22,000 over budget, allowing for the 10 percent offset to ratepayers and a $430,000 set-aside for sewer and water infrastructure projects.

“In these economic times we are recovering nicely,” said Warren. “Things are getting better, but not the same as our high water mark of 2006-2007. Like every city it’s a continual process of increasing efficiency and gaining revenue.”

Wendy Schultz

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