City staff presented City Council with a proposed budget for fiscal year 2022/23 at a special meeting on April 26 and asked for their direction in advance of formal approval of the budget, which is tentatively scheduled for June 7.
Projected general fund revenues are up from last year at $113.6 million. This is due in part to a rising property tax base (up 1.5% from last year), and sales taxes (up 7% from last year), which have seen a strong recovery as more businesses return to normal operations following pandemic restrictions.
Projected expenditures are $114.3 million. This includes the 2.5% budget cuts approved recently, as well as an additional $3.8 million from leaving 34.5 full-time equivalent staff positions vacant.
Thus the general fund anticipates an operating deficit of $700,000, which staff proposes to balance with approximately $2 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds and a one-time Brea Dam Fund repayment of $0.3 million. The General Fund will maintain contingency reserves at 17% of operating expenditures.
Mayor Fred Jung proposed increasing the City’s Transient Occupancy Tax (hotel bed tax), which is currently lower than neighboring cities. This increase in taxes would, by law, require voter approval through a ballot measure.
Councilmember Jesus Silva asked Interim City Manager Jeff Collier if the City will be hiring more Parks and Rec employees, given the fact that that department lost many employees during the pandemic.
Collier replied that he would be giving a report on that at the May 3 Council meeting.
Councilmember Zahra cautioned staff against making overly conservative revenue projections, which are often used to justify budget cuts. He said that revenue projections for this past year had been lower than what actually came in, and were used to justify cuts.
Mayor Fred Jung asked about an increased $2.5 million in city liability insurance cost. “That’s a very large increase,” Jung said. “What are we doing to mitigate these things?”
HR director Eddie Manfro said the increase comes from the “poor claims history of the city” which caused increases in premiums and deductibles. He said the way to mitigate that is to invest in City infrastructure and risk management to reduce potential lawsuits against the city.
Infrastructure & Capital Projects
Civil Engineer David Grantham gave a presentation on the City’s planned capital infrastructure funding and projects for 2022/23, including street rehabilitation, utility (water, sewer and storm drain repairs and replacements), traffic systems, and other improvements.
Street rehabilitation capital improvements will total $11.8 million, which includes the use of $5.5 million of the total $13.1 million obligated ARPA funding. Significant projects planned include:
• Orangethorpe Ave
• State College Blvd to Placentia Ave
• Associated Rd
• Yorba Linda Blvd to Bastanchury Rd
• Associated Road
• Rolling Hills Dr to Imperial Hwy
• Brookhurst Rd at SR-91 Interchange
Water infrastructure capital improvements will total $19.9 million, which includes the use of $2.0 million of obligated ARPA funding.
Councilmember Ahmad Zahra pointed out that there were more street and infrastructure projects planned for north Fullerton than south Fullerton, which he represents.
Grantham acknowledged this disparity, but pointed out that there were significant infrastructure projects on the southside last year, and more planned for upcoming years. He also said that the water projects often dictate road repair projects, and many of the water main problems are on the north side of town.
Traffic system infrastructure capital improvements such as new traffic signals, equipment replacement and upgrades and neighborhood traffic management will total $0.9 million.
Facility Infrastructure improvements will total $3.7 million. Park site improvements will total $2.0 million. Significant Projects planned include:
• Fullerton Transportation Center Accessibility Improvements
• Gilbert Park Repairs & Accessibility Improvements
• Park Playground Equipment Replacement
• Hunt Library Renovation
Residents may contact Council at (714) 738-6311 or by email at email@example.com.
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