Elk Grove has the chance to pass its 12th consecutive balanced budget next month, and it's thanks to "everybody on the payroll of the city of Elk Grove," Vice Mayor Pat Hume said Wednesday.
The city council on Wednesday got its first glimpse at the fiscal year 2012-13 budget, which would total $157 million–an increase of $8 million from the 2011-12 budget. The council will see the budget again on June 13, and could approve it then.
"I would characterize this budget as a 'good news budget,' " City Manager Laura Gill said. "Given all the news around the region about cutting services and layoffs–we don't have any of that."
Pension reform is one of the biggest success stories from the budget, Gill said.
City employees saved the city $1.5 million by agreeing to contribute "their full share of retirement contributions required by CalPERS," Gill wrote in a letter accompanying the proposed budget. Sworn police employees will contribute 9 percent from their salary, while others will contribute 8 percent, but the city will add 5 to 6 percent all salaries.
Hume praised employees for having "tightened their belts" in the budget process.
City revenue rebounding thanks to car sales
Elk Grove's largest source of revenue, sales tax, is expected to grow 7.5 percent in the current fiscal year and 8 percent next year, according to Gill's budget letter.
"Sales tax is growing at a very robust rate," Gill told the council Wednesday. "That is due to auto sales."
Elk Grove's new car sales in the fourth quarter of 2011 grew 28 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2010, she said.
"We believe that is due to the pent-up demand of people hanging onto cars," Gill said, acknowledging there was no way of knowing how long the local auto shopping spree would last.
Local property tax revenues have decreased, but most of that money goes to Sacramento County as part of a deal made when Elk Grove became a city.
$1.2 million of rainy day fund could be spent
As of July 1, Elk Grove officials estimate the city will have $15.5 million socked away in a rainy day fund. The proposed budget for fiscal year 2012-13 assumes spending $1.2 million of that money, leaving $14.3 unspent. Here's where the $1.2 million could go:
- The will receive a $589,000 relocation incentive.
- The economic development incentive program will receive $200,000.
- Long-term planning projects like the South Sacramento Conversation Plan and the will receive $330,000.
- The will have $100,000 available for overtime spending in case of an unexpected emergency.