With just one area operating above budget, the overall figures from the initial six months of city funds gathered from the Measure O sales tax initiative are spent below budgeted expectations, according to figures presented by Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer at a Measure O Oversight Committee meeting on March 21.
The initiative, which called for a half-cent sales tax increase to fund city services, was passed by 55 percent of the voters in November 2011. The collection of the new tax began April 1, 2012 and will expire March 31, 2013.
Approximately $300,000 of Measure O funds were collected between April 2011 through June 2011and applied to the 2012-2013 Fiscal Year budget. It is anticipated that another $1.2 million will be collected from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013 bringing $1.5 million to the city’s general fund, or $750,000 at the midway point.
Whitemyer broke down the first six-month figures into the six categories where the funds are routed to – Police, Fire, Senior Center, Community Center, Street Sweeping and Street Lighting.
The only department operating above their budgeted amount was Street Lighting which was at 75 percent of its full year totals.
“In many cases, we missed the target for this budget,” said Whitemyer, citing startup costs as a possibility. “We’re adjusting the budget accordingly.”
Since street lighting only drew about 7 percent of the Measure O funds, and other areas are operating at or below budget, the total figures showed the city was at 46.4 percent of its Measure O fund usage at the halfway point of the fiscal year budget.
Additionally, the street lighting budget not only covered the cost of overhead street lights, but traffic signal operating costs, causing Commissioner Donald Lyman to ask, “What is the cost to keep lights on so we can walk around safely? Not the cost of the red, green, yellow lights of signals.”
According to Finance Director Albert Avila all lighting costs are grouped together by the city under one account.
“Measure O is playing a vital role in maintaining city operations,” said Whitemyer. “All that we’ve done here is purchase time. Without it, the city is spending more than it brings in.”
Whitemyer will be presenting a city budget update covering the current financial status and full budget and modifications at the Monday, April 1 city council meeting.