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Roseville officials: city budget once again 'status quo?

City Council will vote on 2012-13 budget June 20
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Roseville's upper management went through what City Manager Ray Kerridge calls a "brain-numbing" process of reviewing all department budgets line by line.

If there was a random $100, they asked what that money was for and if able to, cut the expense. Assistant City Manager Rob Jensen said departments were tasked with keeping costs at last year's levels, as they devised the fiscal year 2012-13 budget.

But the city had already significantly cut costs over the past several years, he said.

"It was hard to find $100 that wasn't necessary to do what we need to do," Jensen said.

The city has drafted a status-quo budget, with no major cuts, expansions, layoffs, furloughs or reductions in services for residents. The budget was presented during a public hearing Monday and Roseville City Council will vote on the plan Wednesday, June 20.

The city aims to keep reducing expenses and closing a roughly $4 million structural deficit over the next few years.

Meanwhile, Roseville continues to invest in new projects to generate revenue - it's the city's optimistic attempt to get "ahead of the wave" of economic recovery, as city officials often say.

Rising cost pressures

Roseville's proposed 2012-13 fiscal year budget is $406.2 million, which includes $205.7 million in the enterprise fund and $118 million in the general fund. The rest of the budget includes Capital Improvement Projects, Special Districts and the Strategic Improvement Fund.

The city is still not where it wants to be with the general fund. Revenue has been flat over the past couple of years, although sales tax is trending up and property taxes are showing a slowing decline, said City Treasurer Russ Branson.

Costs are up as the city faces paying back concessions previously made by labor groups, higher CalPERS contributions, and rising fuel and utility costs.

"We have the same cost pressures everybody else feels with the economy," Branson said.

In 2009, the council approved a two-year agreement between the city and Roseville Police Officers Association, which includes a 3 percent salary increase, effective July 14, for an annual cost of $384,392.

Four of the city's six employee groups are currently paying all or part of their CalPERS costs. The city is negotiating with the Roseville Firefighters Association and Local 39, and hopes to have all groups paying their share of CalPERS by July 2013, Branson said.

Over the past five years, the city has cut spending in part by eliminating 170 positions in the general fund.

"We've done what we can to restructure and reduce costs," Branson said.

Generating revenue

Branson said the city typically spends less than it budgets for, which is how Roseville closed the budget gap this year - by using carry-over funds and one-time monies. They'll do the same in 2012-13.

By using carry-over funds, the city is able to keep its reserves close to the goal of 10 percent.

Roseville also continues to brainstorm ways to generate revenue, said Assistant City Manager John Sprague. One example: Exploring the possibility of a full-service hotel and conference center near Westfield Galleria.

This would be a private-public partnership costing an estimated $63 million, and the facility could open as early as 2015.

"That creates a whole different market than we have right now," Sprague said.

In August, staff will recommend a team to address site-specific design and financing options for the project, he said.

The city is focused on marketing Roseville as a desirable place to live and do business. The city recently entered into a partnership with local businesses called Advantage Roseville, aimed to promote economic development activities. The program is overseen by the nonprofit Roseville Community Development Corporation, formed by the city in late 2010.

Roseville is working with Placer Valley Tourism to expand that part of the economy, Sprague said. The goal is to encourage people to move here or visit the city - in part, because that leads to increased sales tax, which is Roseville's biggest revenue source for the general fund.

The city is also investing $8.25 million in the Town Square Capital Improvement Project to revitalize downtown, in an attempt to make the neighborhood a place where people want to live, work, eat and play.

A longer-term approach to generating revenues is the creation of a four-year private university in Roseville. A task force's report released in April indentified Roseville as offering a "favorable climate" for a comprehensive university.

According to the city-formed task force, a university will bring new jobs and about $436 million in annual output to the local economy.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.

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Key numbers in Roseville's proposed 2012-13 budget

Total budget: $406.2 million

Enterprise fund: $205.7 million

General fund: $118 million

Estimated revenues: $403.2 million

Projected sales tax: $42.1 million

Projected property: $20.6 million

Estimated expenses: $406.2 million