For Measure J, it appears the good news finally outweighs the bad, as Placerville City Council heard at Tuesday’s meeting. Measure J revenues derive from the city sales tax and are used to augment city police officer salaries and benefits, including the canine officer stipend and veterinary costs for the two canines on the force.
Measure J’s operating expenditures have operated in a deficit for the past five years, draining away the fund’s reserves and requiring an inter-fund loan transfer of $132,000 from the Reserve for Economic Uncertainties for the 2011-2012 fiscal year.
The good news is that sales tax revenues in the city of Placerville were up in the last fiscal year by 3.87 percent over the previous year. According to state Board of Equalization’s latest statewide sales tax forecasts and local trend, city staff is “cautiously optimistic” that city sales tax revenues will continue to show modest growth.
Added to growth in sales tax revenue are concessions the Placerville Police Officers Association accepted in employee benefits and a continued 10 percent pay reduction. The recent award of a three-year COPS CHP grant in the amount of $280,555.00 contributes to a balanced budget for Measure J for the first time in five years and the saving of a police officer position from layoff.
“From 2007 to 2010, sales tax revenues shrank by 29 percent and the personnel expenses increased,” said City Finance Director Dave Warren. “We didn’t know how long and deep the recession would be and used all the reserves in Measure J funds to offset the deficit.”
Due to the forecasted budget deficit for 2011-2012, of which the last quarter results will not be known until September, the Placerville City Council froze a police officer position and authorized the inter-fund loan. With the awarding of the grant, which will pay 75 percent of the police officer’s position for three years, the predicted sales tax growth and the employee benefit concessions which began July 1, fiscal year 2012-2013, will most likely result in a balanced budget for Measure J funds.
“2011-2012 was a tough year,” said Warren, “but 2012-2013 looks to be a much better year, already.”
Contact Wendy Schultz at 530-344-5069 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @WSchultzMtDemo.