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Manteca leaders ponder overall $97 million budget

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POSTED April 2, 2012 1:20 a.m.

Manteca has a balanced budget.

Manteca is not broke.

Those are two messages city leaders are expected to convey Tuesday when they finally adopt a budget for the current fiscal year that started 277 days ago on July 1, 2011.

The City Council meets at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

Manteca - as allowed by state law - has been operating under a continuing budget resolution while they sorted through employment contract negotiations that impact almost 80 percent of the general fund expenditures. Under such resolution adopted back in July, the city kept the 2010-11 budget in place. Anytime an expenditure wasn’t in the budget, it had to be brought before the council on an individual basis for approval.

The employee contracts are key to the city being put on a path where revenues in any given year are enough to cover expenditures for that year.

Accumulatively, employee bargaining groups have made $4.2 million in concessions through June 30, 2015. Those concessions are designed to allow Manteca to eliminate its structural deficit.

The budget being approved for the current year on Tuesday is balanced although City Manager Karen McLaughlin has noted the city council is using part of its reserves to do so.

The general fund portion of the budget critical for day-to-day municipal operations such as police and fire comes to $27,074,746 for the current fiscal year. That’s 12 percent less than what Manteca expected to spend based on trends back in January 2011.

The distressed general fund is only one part of the municipal budget puzzle. Overall once all operations including water, garbage, sewer, capital improvements and other accounts are factored into the equation the municipal budget for the current year comes to $97,787,926 excluding the redevelopment agency.

Under state law, none of the rest of the budget can be used for general fund expenditures. Instead, the money - primarily fees - must be spent for what service it was collected for whether it was maintenance and operation of the water system or fees for growth-related improvements.

The city also started the current fiscal year with $115,583,532 in cash on hand in various fund balances.

Fund balances as of June 30, 2011 included:

• $10,353,826 in the general fund. That included $4,705,296 in public improvement excise tax collected on growth; $2,863,022 designated for emergencies, capital outlay and debt service; and $2,729,098 in operational reserves of which some will be used to balance the current budget.

• $18,839,322 in special revenue funds. This includes development fees, landscape maintenance ($1,133,481), public safety tax ($3,967,881), and public safety endowment ($8,078,509) among others.

• $23,224,351 in capital improvement funds. This includes gas tax, Measure K transit tax, park fees, and growth fees among others.

• $54,371,936 in enterprise funds. This included sewer maintenance and operation, sewer fees, water maintenance and operations, water fees, and solid waste among others.

• $8,794,097 in internal service funds. This includes payroll tax set aside, insurance reserves and savings for vehicle and equipment purchases among others.

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