At the Livermore City Council workshop on May 20, city staff provided the 2019-21 fiscal year preliminary financial plan, including a proposed budget seeking direction from council concerning any refinements to the plan before a final presentation at the June 10 council meeting.
Budgets for 2019-2021 fiscal years that contain operational costs, service levels and funding of long-term obligations to ensure financial sustainability were described. Ways to achieve the council’s goals and priorities approved earlier this year were presented.
The largest proposed expenditures involve safety, police and fire, followed by transportation infrastructure including traffic control, trails, street maintenance, downtown revitalization and wastewater/water facilities. Other outlays were directed toward beautification, underground facilities, public buildings, the airport, and flood control. The city’s two-year capital expenditures include $55 million (56%) toward expansion and enhancement of the current plan and $44 million (44%) for rehabilitation and replacement of items in the current plan. .
The three major resources for revenue include property tax, sales tax and development fees. Sales tax and property tax revenues are projected to increase over the budget cycle. Development revenue should remain strong unless the economy begins to decline.
Douglas Alessio, Administrative Services Director, noted that the U.S. is currently in the second, soon to be first longest economic expansion in the history of this country. He stated that most economists are not predicting a downturn during the next two years barring any unforeseen occurrences.
Alessio observed that asset management was the biggest financial concern facing the city. Over the last three years, the city has built an infrastructure repair and replacement reserve of $6 million. The current proposed budget lowers that reserve by $1.8 million.
Alessio described progress on the downtown project, the emergency operating center, a $3.2 million investment in technology for public safety purposes and $750,000 supporting an innovation driven economy. The general fund shows $8.7 million for the homeless and affordable housing.
City Manager Marc Roberts noted the importance of identifying specific information and trends over time for the council, the community and the state, since this gives good data and makes clear the financial situations the city has to manage.
Councilmember Bob Woerner questioned whether a term other than “enterprise fund” would be appropriate for collecting all relevant areas in one place.
Roberts explained the “enterprise fund” was chosen because it was ultimately supported by known user fees. It also helps when dealing with the state concerning funding regionally.
Councilmember Trish Munro appreciated the explanations so the community can understand the issues and can act to voice informed opinions. “Our residents can be actors at the state level as well as on behalf of the city as we go forward.”