Yuba City is projecting a record year in terms of its general fund revenues and expenditures. The city approved its fiscal year 2019/20 budget last month. 

The city appropriated $118,283,547 for operating costs for the new fiscal year. Its general fund revenues – a pot of money City Council members have discretion over for spending – are projected to be the highest they’ve ever been at approximately $45.1 million, but so too are its estimated expenses at approximately $44.6 million, leaving a slight surplus.  

“The adopted general fund budget has a surplus of $435,200, so yes, it is a balanced budget. That said, we do have unmet needs, which include expenditures which are important city priorities, but there are simply not enough revenues available to cover the costs,” said Robin Bertagna, director of finance for Yuba City. 

Of the approximately $45.1 million in general fund revenues, the majority will go to public safety, with police getting 35 percent and fire getting 26 percent. Other notable general fund allocations to departments include Public Works (12 percent), Community Services (11 percent) and Finance/IT (7 percent).  

“Property tax and sales tax are the top two revenue generators for Yuba City,” Bertagna said. “Property taxes are projected at $13,742,700 for FY 19/20 and sales tax is $13,684,800. Compared to total revenues (not including the $500,000 transfer in from the city’s Pension Stabilization Fund), these two revenues comprise 61.6 percent of the city’s total general fund revenues.” 

The budget projects an increase of 4.3 percent for property taxes compared to FY 2018/19, and an increase of 2 percent for sales taxes. One of the city’s biggest expenses came in the form of salary and benefits for its employees, which increased a total of approximately $2.4 million from the year before. In that category, the largest increase was with CalPERS retirement costs, which was expected to rise $778,000 this year. 

The projected budget calls for the deletion of one position in the Economic Development Department – deputy city manager/economic growth and public affairs previously held by Darin Gale – but provides for seven new positions across several departments, as well as the reclassification of seven positions.

Bertagna said the biggest concern facing Yuba City has to do with rising retirement costs.

“Future revenue growth will likely be outpaced by increasing CalPERS retirement costs,” she said.

In addition to the unfunded liability portion of CalPERS, other unmet financing needs facing the city include deferred infrastructure maintenance and replacement, start-up costs for police services in an annexed area, construction of park facilities in the Tierra Buena area, and other economic development initiatives.

The city’s highest priority moving forward, Bertagna said, is prioritizing its revenues to meet the needs of the community in providing services. Other priorities identified include public safety, developing the economy, maintaining and improving infrastructure, preparing for growth, and enhancing the city’s image and reputation. 

To view the city’s proposed operating budget for FY 2019/20, go to https://bit.ly/2YGLjVR.

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