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City of Roseville addressing $5.5 million structural deficit

Council says difficult cuts may need to be made
By: Sena Christian, Staff Reporter
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The Roseville City Council won’t vote on next fiscal year’s budget until June, but they’ve already begun hearing from staff about the need to address a $5.5 million structural deficit.

The deficit was one of the topics discussed during a budget workshop Tuesday. City staff presented a five-year plan for eliminating what was a $4 million deficit last year, which involves increasing revenue and reducing costs.

“So, that’s good, that part of the plan is working, revenue is going up,” said City Treasurer Russ Branson. “The other part is to reduce costs, and to hold costs down, and we’ve had mixed results on that. We’ve had some successes and we’re still struggling to get some other things done.”

The $5.5 million amount doesn’t include long-term unfunded liabilities, such as $3.5 million to $7 million for retiree health funds, $3.5 million for capital improvement projects and $5 million for street maintenance.

“My strongest desire is to make sure the deficit does not grow,” said Councilwoman Bonnie Gore, a sentiment echoed by her fellow council members.

Branson said overall the economic outlook for Roseville looks positive. He noted that the city has been averaging 650 single-family permits a year, which is the “lion’s share” for the region.

Commercial permits are down from 2008, as a result of high vacancy rates. The city isn’t seeing new structures built, but rather old buildings reused, which has led to more tenant improvements.

Retail vacancy rates are declining, now less than 10 percent. Office vacancy rates are also declining and are now at 24 percent.

“I’d still say 24 percent is very high, but it’s heading in the right direction,” Branson said.

Some new large building projects are in the works, including a FBI headquarters and Life Time Fitness project.

Roseville has a lower unemployment rate than the rest of the region, at about 8 percent.

“Overall, the economic conditions are looking good and positive,” Branson said.

The city will host a public budget hearing on Thursday, June 6, at the Civic Center, 311 Vernon St. in Roseville.