Predicts $192,000 Shortfall
By Luke Phillips
The Holtville City Council voted unanimously at their meeting Monday to adopt the Fiscal Year Budget for 2012/2013 which shows a $192,000 shortfall for the coming year.
City Finance Manager Nick Wells summarized for the council a budget workshop where he says committee members “came to a grudging consensus to adopt the budget as-is with the negative amount.”
“We’ve got a fiscal issue and we need to keep an eye on it throughout the year,” Wells said.
According to Wells’ report the city has budgeted $5,743,701 for the coming fiscal year with $2.6 million going to the General Funds, 1.3 million going to the Water Operating Fund, $1.1 million going to the Sewer Operating Fund, $15,000 going to the Trash Operating Fund, $175,000 going to the Gas Tax Fund and $315,660 going to the Local Transportation Authority Fund.
City Manager Alex Meyerhoff told the council that financial predications made by Wells were very conservative and that it’s possible that new revenue streams could ease some of the budget woes.
“We just didn’t want to be too optimistic in our revenue streams for the future,” Meyerhoff said. “We have had some sales tax growth and if that trends then we’re building a little bit here, but don’t count on that. It’s a little risky.”
Council member David Bradshaw pointed out that most of the current budget problems were created by the loss of Redevelopment Agency funds which were raided by the state earlier this year.
“It’s not that there’s a lot more money being spent,” Bradshaw said. “A lot of money went away. I think it’s important for the public to know that it wasn’t a city manager issue or anything like that.”
In anticipation of the worsening budget the city recently laid off several employees and offered others incentive packages for early retirement. Council member Mike Goodsell said at the meeting Monday that having to let people go was “one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make.”
“We’re definitely looking worse than we did a couple of months ago,” he said, looking over the budget. ” People are out of jobs today and it’s sad to see.”