The Placerville City Council received a cheering report on the progress of Measure J at the Feb. 11 meeting. According to the report by Placerville City Finance Director Dave Warren, the quarter cent add-on sales tax revenues of the last half of 2013 increased by almost $30,000 from the same period in 2012.
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Measure J was approved by Placerville voters in 1998. The revenues are used for peace officer safety services and partially fund the salaries of 17 full-time officer positions, the Canine Officer stipend and veterinary costs.
For the reporting period of July 1, 2013-Dec.31, 2013, Measure J operating expenditures were $97,000 less than the operating revenues, as well. The surplus is due to the growth in Measure J funds, a $5,000 K-9 grant, and cost savings from two vacant police officer positions.
“We’ve shown significant growth, 6.4 percent, in sales tax revenues,” said Warren, “and growth has been the trend for the past three quarters.”
The savings cost from the two empty police officer positions will most likely disappear by the end of the 2013-2014 fiscal year as the positions will be filled in the next six months, said Warren.
It’s a stark contrast from 2011, when the City Council approved an inter-fund loan from the Reserve for Economic Uncertainties to the Measure J Fund, so the Measure J Fund could meet its cash flow obligations for 2011-2012. The Measure J Fund will begin repaying the $137,000 loan with an $8,000 payment in 2013-2014 and a $10,000 payment in fiscal year 2014-2015.
“Our goal is to make a payment every year because we want to repay the loan as quickly as possible,” said Warren. “If Measure J funds increase, we can increase the amount of the payments.”
While Warren’s report stated city staff was cautiously optimistic that Measure J revenues will continue to grow at a modest rate, it also noted that the Placerville Police Officers Association agreed to continue a 5 percent salary reduction and implement new employee benefit concessions for the city to balance the 2013-2014 Measure J Fund budget. The city also received a COPS CHP grant in 2012 that pays 75 percent of the cost of one police officer position for three years, which also helps the city avoid dipping into reserves.
“A little more than a year ago, Measure J reserves were exhausted,” said Warren. “Now, to have reserves again is good news.”
Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or [email protected] Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.