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Preliminary City Budget Introduced

Retirement Costs Drain Coffers

Preliminary City Budget Introduced


POSTED June 22, 2016 10:23 a.m.
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The City of Oakdale is projecting nearly $35 million in revenues for all city funds for the 2016-2017 fiscal year with its General Fund anticipated at $11.8 million according to City Manager Bryan Whitemyer.

On Monday, June 20, Whitemyer gave a presentation regarding the upcoming budget as part of the city’s ongoing budget management.

“The review process lets us know where we stand in all our accounts,” Whitemyer said, describing the budget as a complex document that manages over 80 separate accounts. “Due to prudent budget decisions and funds from Measure Y, that has allowed the city to add previously cut positions.”

Whitemyer said the Measure Y sales tax measure brings in $1.6 million to city coffers.

The council is required to adopt an annual budget by July 1, the start of the new fiscal year. In September, after previous year’s revenues are transferred, the final budget will be introduced.

Whitemyer said the stance was still “tenacious” when looking at a long term budget and most notably retirement costs were on the rise having an effect on budgeting for the General Fund.

“PERS losses for years ago are still affecting the city,” Whitemyer said. “Fortunately, the city has prudently planned and set aside funds in anticipation of these increases.”

Whitemyer said some PERS accounts rose as much as 43 percent in Fiscal Year 2014-2015.

“Reports indicate that these costs are projected to rise further which will create additional burdens on the city’s budget in future years,” Whitemyer said.

For this year, police retirement cost increases alone are budgeted at $158,867.

Whitemyer told the council that over the next four years he predicts costs will continue to rise and then expects a plateau with an eventual drop after that.

“This is not uncommon for other cities,” Whitemyer said.”Unfortunately, this is our reality.”

Other highlights of the new budget include $200,000 set aside to help fund the future replacement of the city’s two fire engines. The total cost of replacing both engines is estimated to be $1 million.

For the city’s sewer fund, Whitemyer said the city continues to prepare for needed capital improvements by setting aside $2 million for the Sewer Capital Replacement Fund. He added that money is also set aside for a new river crossing pipeline and the replacement of the Sierra and D Street sewer lift station.

Whitemyer said water conservation continues to be a top priority for the water fund with the city continuing with its water meter upgrade program. This program changes out old water meters with new radio read water meters that are more accurate and no longer require a water operator to physically see and record the water meter readings.

Since the city relies on water rates to fund the account, conservation efforts have hamstrung revenues. According to Whitemyer, usage has dropped more than 11 percent, meaning a drop in billing.

“Unfortunately our costs haven’t dropped 11 percent,” Whitemyer said.

He said projections were “conservative” to prevent over projecting revenues

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