Staff unveils $11 million balanced budget
by Nick Rappley | Patterson Irrigator
Jun 12, 2013 | 1088 views | 0 0 comments | 52 52 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The future looks optimistic for the city of Patterson’s general fund budget after City Manager Rod Butler and his staff presented a balance of more than $11.7 million for the 2013-2014 fiscal year to the City Council at a special city council meeting Tuesday, June 11 in the Patterson City Council Chambers.

The total is $1.3 million more than the 2012-2013 fiscal year expected to land. No decision was made Tuesday on an adoption and the matter was held over for another budget workshop to take place Tuesday, June 25.

Fueled largely by an expected jump in tax revenues—nearly $800,000 in sales tax revenue and another $500,000 in real estate taxes—the optimistic budget is projecting an additional $1.3 million in extra tax revenue.

A jump in sales tax is expected to result from a full fiscal year of the Patterson Wal-Mart store being open.

Property tax revenues are expected to increase as well thanks to a surge in Patterson home prices, according to city Finance Director Minnie Moreno.

Sales tax revenue from the expected opening of the Internet retailer Amazon.com fulfillment center in Patterson was not taken into consideration, according to Butler, despite the fact that the warehouse is expected to be open in the fall, generating more revenue.

Regardless of the optimistic projections, council members were wary.

“We need to be extremely cautious,” Councilwoman Sheree Lustgarten said, noting the last collapse of the real estate market and the toll it took on the city budget.

Councilman Larry Buehner agreed, adding he’d like to see some of the extra money put away for surface street repairs throughout the city.

“We need to form some kind of slush fund for street maintenance,” he said.

Councilwoman Deborah Novelli said she agreed with Lustgarten about being careful with projections and called into question the need to buy more than $120,000 in computer equipment for the city.

Moreno defended the expense proposal, stating that city staff is handicapped with their current, sub-par computer equipment.

“We’ve been so behind the 8-ball with our computer equipment,” she said.

New computer equipment for most city workers would mean more efficiency with new software, she said.

Novelli also criticized $50,000 budgeted for a new city government website.

Butler said a survey of several comparable cities that recently updated their websites called for $30,000 to $60,000. He said the $50,000 included attempts by the city to go to a paperless electronic document system.

Although the city is in need of upgrades, council members are taking their time to propose a decision and have agreed to lay off any further action until Tuesday, June 25.

Contact Nick Rappley at 892-6187, ext. 31 or nick@pattersonirrigator.com.

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