As many of you know, the City is in the process of updating its strategic plan. Part of this planning process is the results of the telephone surveys and the community meetings which gather feedback from residents on various issues. It is no surprise that residents are concerned with the management of the City’s finances and the new solar lease revenues. I would like to point out the steps the City has taken over the past few years to stabilize our budgets and achieve long-term financial sustainability.
This is one of two articles that will explain the steps the city has taken so far, and what role the financial plan, which was adopted in 2011, plays in getting the City on solid financial ground.
The City Council wanted to set some solid parameters which would focus the new solar lease revenues toward certain areas. We did not want the revenues to simply grow the size of government, which would never be sustainable once these solar leases disappeared. Instead, these new revenues will be directed to areas that will improve our financial position without raising rates or increasing property taxes. The plan is a multi-pronged approach. The strategic objectives of the plan are as follow:
1. Reduce/eliminate general fund and utility fund debt.
2. Provide adequate rainy day fund balances and rate stabilization funds.
3. Reduce the utility fund transfer to the general fund by 50 percent.
4. Stabilize property tax rates.
5. Provide adequate funding for the maintenance of fleet, equipment and facilities.
6. Use capital improvement fund balances to support future voter-approved projects.
No plan is worth the paper it’s written on if it is not carried out and implemented over time. Follow through is the most difficult part of any plan. During the past two budget cycles, the City Council has made some very hard decisions on how money should be spent and those decisions supported this adopted financial plan. Like all other cities we have struggled during this difficult economy. The good news is that we have the resources and plans to restore economic vitality to our community.
Visit Roger at http://www.bcnv.org/CityCouncil/Tobler.asp.