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Manteca could finally put in place budget next month
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Manteca is scheduled to adopt a budget for the current fiscal year 244 days after it started on July 1.

The Manteca City Council will finally see a detailed spending plan for the 2011-12 fiscal year on Monday, March 12, during a 2 p.m. workshop. The council is scheduled to adopt the municipal budget on March 20.

That will leave 122 days for the budget they adopt to be used as a blueprint for municipal spending.

The City Council was unable to adopt a spending plan for the first six months of the fiscal year due to loose ends with employee bargaining contracts that were being renegotiated. Salaries and benefits constitute roughly 80 percent of all general fund expenditures.

Staff was targeting a budget for early January but then the courts ruled in December that the state could pull the plug on redevelopment agencies up and down California. And while the RDA budget per se is separate from the general fund, there are five full time equivalent positions on city staff funded by redevelopment agency money. That doesn’t include other jobs that are funded indirectly when the RDA is charged for services that other city general fund departments provide such as finance, administration, and community development.

Eliminating the RDA forced the city to re-examine its entire general fund budget again.

General law cities such as Manteca can continue to use a previous year’s budget as their spending guideline. They can’t, however, have expenditures in any category that exceeds what is in the previous year’s adopted plan unless council authorizes it through budget appropriations.

City Manager Karen McLaughlin has noted the finance department has kept tight control on expenses monitoring them against revenue to make sure that spending is kept in line with the 2010-11 budget levels.

Ironically, once the current year’s budget is done staff will be starting almost immediately on the 2012-13 spending plan.  McLaughlin expects that budget to go through the normal review process in June and be ready for council consideration for adoption in July.