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.

20 comments:

  1. Leucadia is the backbone of the property taxes collected in Encinitas

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  2. Budget adjustments? Is that like robbing Peter to pay Paul? I don't know about you folks, but it seems to me, the people behind the glass doors at City Hall are running a shell game.

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  3. A city is a BUSINESS and you have a bunch of people in charge that do not know how to run a BUSINESS!!!!!!!!

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  4. Well said CADMUS... WELL SAID!

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  5. They sure are trying hard to be like Enron.

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  6. They have surpassed Enron.

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  7. It is unbelievable that our city council can talk out of all sides of their mouths at once. They want to increase taxes so they can have more of our money to spend on their pet projects.

    Why haven't we heard from our new city council person, Barth, on the issue of this city's disfunctional finances message?

    Cut all the unnecessary capital spending.

    To first anonymous, are you kidding? Leucadia's funky not expensive.

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  8. Yes. Kidding.

    The council has spent on all sorts of pet projects that make them feel good and the public think the city has tons of extra cash to toss at warm fuzzies. We don't have enough money to pay for the things that we now need to do. Warm fuzzies are not going away anytime soon because that will require admitting that we are way behind on capital improvments and that we weren't swimming in extra cash when the staff got an enourmous compensation raise two years ago.

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  9. Notaxlady- re-read the first anon comment and sharpen-up.

    "Leucadia is the backbone of the property tax collected in Encinitas"

    That says that Leucadia contributes a large portion of revenues received from property taxes within Leucadia.

    It says nothing about expenses.

    We all know the City council hasn't spent shit in Leucadia over the last 20 years.

    The first 20 years of improvement funds went to new Encinitas, then downtown Encinitas, now Leucadia is impatiently awaiting its turn.

    The Hall property and fire stations are taking a major portion of the expenditure pie over the next 20 years.

    I think the council should shift more towards Leucadia since we are a large portion of the property tax base and haven't received swat to date.

    Eliminating the Art Director paid postion would also save well over $1 million dollars over ten years.

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  10. A new slogan for Maintaining the Landscaping in Encinitas should be,

    "Save the Trees- Eliminate the Dead Wood at City Hall"

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  11. axing the art director should be an easy sale to the so called conseratives on the council.

    What proportion of the property tax revenue comes from Leucadia? Numbers and source please.

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  12. I also think we could start by eliminating that art director position which is $85,000 plus benefits. The sooner we eliminate this unnecessary position, the better. For the first year or so, his contract should be year to year, I hope. That was one of the warm fuzzies, put in because Guerin and gang did not want to let the art commissioners appoint an art jury, which would have some discretionary choice over the art selected and perhaps, some of the art grants given.

    Christy Guerin did not want to dilute her power and her direct control. She did not want her appointees appointing an art jury, who was going to contribute time for free!

    Instead, taxpayers got saddled with another useless position at City Hall, plus big benefits.

    Today I went to the Planning Commission. Although City Hall is opened this Friday, the person I needed to speak to, and the person that the gentleman in front of me asked to speak to, were both gone for the day, not to be back before Tuesday, as Monday is a holiday. This was before 4:00 P.M.

    City essentially gets four day holidays when there is a Monday holiday, whether the previous Friday was one of the alternating "closed Fridays" or not.

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  13. Its time to end the 9/80 schedule which is an un-needed benefit that is too costly to the public. It great for the employees, but is a huge waste of money for the public.

    If Council and the City Manager don’t stand up to the unions and look out for the public’s best interest, the Employees Union will next proposed three 12hrs per week and close City Hall every Thursday and Friday.

    If Council doesn't have the guts to stand up to the City employees, they should make it a ballot measure and let the Citizens decide.

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  14. A ballot measure will be the only way to change this employee perk. Where is our newest city council person? Why hasn't the savior Barth brought this issue up. We already know the rest of them are beholing to the city manger and employees.

    Someone write the initiative I will help circulate it.

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  15. No one has proposed 3 day work weeks. That is over the top.

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  16. If I remember correctly, City Hall being closed every other Friday was as a energy saving measure initiated during the days of the ENRON generated rolling blackouts.

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  17. anon 1108,

    You start a group and start writing a petition and people will help you. There are more pressing matters than the work week issue that you should work on.

    As for Barth, why don't you write her? Maybe she is likes it the way it is? But, I suspect you already know the landscape. Why point out Barth?

    Why not instead ask the majority voting block to do this. Dan, Jerome, and Jim are in charge because they are the majority voting block, or did you forget the Mayoral appointment flap already? Maybe you could hit 46 birds with one stone. Circulate a petition to recall a couple of those clowns.

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  18. Bob is right about the justification. Problem is the City is no longer seeing much savings. How messed up is that.

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  19. The energy saving excuse allowed the the city manager to start the city hall closing on every other Friday. The last union contract had that perk written into the contract. Better perks = more union members = more union dues = bigger paychecks for the union officials.

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  20. Another Union perk granted during Miller Time. I never enjoyed Miller Time.....I'll always take a Coors over Miller anyday.

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