Thursday, February 15, 2007
Mayor Bond does his his level best to eat that elephant in a cost-effective way
Encinitas approves budget adjustments
By: ADAM KAYE - Staff Writer
ENCINITAS -- Encinitas expects to end its fiscal year with an $11.6 million balance in its general operating budget, nearly twice as much as projected when fiscal 2006-07 began July 1, finance department staffers told the City Council on Wednesday.
A 94-project capital program, however, could easily lay claim to much of the windfall.
"We have an extraordinary capital budget before us," Mayor James Bond said of a program budgeted at $101.7 million through fiscal 2006-07. "We're doing our level best to eat that elephant in a cost-effective way."
The City Council approved midyear budget adjustments by a 5-0 vote.
The adjustments show revenues projected to total $51 million, a $1.2 million, or 2.4 percent, increase from the original estimate of $49.8 million.
Finance director Jennifer Smith attributed much of the increase to property tax income that has exceeded projections by $2.2 million. Property taxes comprise 55 percent of the operating budget's revenue.
Brisk home sales coupled with the sale of large commercial properties contributed to the higher-than-expected property tax receipts, Smith said.
Unanticipated revenue totaling more than $200,000 came from state reimbursements and other taxes.
Some revenue sources, meanwhile, haven't produced as much as finance officials had expected. Investment earnings were $275,000 less than first budgeted and charges for services now are budgeted at $690,000 less than anticipated.
On the spending side, Wednesday's budget adjustments included a $203,000, or 0.3 percent decrease, to $41.8 million.
While spending for facility maintenance, art programs and "nondepartmental" costs were budgeted to increase in varying degrees, the city will spend nearly $400,000 less than it had expected to pay for library and law enforcement costs, financial documents show.
In approving the budget adjustments, the council authorized an immediate, $588,000 transfer from its operating budget to the capital improvement program.
Projects receiving money from that transfer include: Leucadia drainage; Leucadia 100-year flood study; downtown parking lot; Santa Fe Drive improvements; engineering design manual; Olivenhain Road project; downtown streetscape; Moonlight Beach pump station; traffic signals on Encinitas Boulevard and El Camino Real; Sun Vista Park habitat monitoring.
It's interesting that the city is now hyping it's budget after complaining just the other day that there isn't enough money for lighting and landscaping. Funny, how the city created a lighting and landscaping account and then underfunded it. Then it was funny when the city tried to scare residents into voting for a lighting fee/tax increase to fill the purposely underfunded lighting budget.
Leucadia!: Dim Forecast for Lighting Budget
Enjoy that elephant.