Budgets in the future will be more difficult to balance
Every local city and school district seems to be having difficulties balancing its budget in preparation for the 2011-12 fiscal year, and King City is no exception.
"The news is not good," said City Manger Dave Wells at the March 2 City Council meeting. "Next year's budget is not rosy, but it is sustainable. It's sound right now, and I think we can provide a high level of service. Our projections are right where we said we would be at the end of our fiscal year (June 30).
"But next year (July 1, 2011-June 30, 2012) we expect $80,000 less in revenue. Looking at $20,000 to $50,000 in increased costs, we will be going past the tipping point in the future. We are going to be very flat in revenue while expenses climb."
Cities get some revenue from building permits, but Wells pointed out that since July 2010, King City has issued only five building permits.
A graph would show the budget line climbing while the revenue line drops, according to Wells.
"At some point, the budget and revenue lines will cross," he said.
Going into the next fiscal year, King City shows $400,000 carryover in the general fund balance, according to the ledger.
King City needs $280,000 to operate during the first four months of the new fiscal year, but the $400,000 in the general fund includes $100,000 in uncollected debt, so the actual amount available is $300,000.
"In the next budget cycle, we must start writing off these debts," Wells said. "They include uncollected parking ticket fines."
The city even contracted with a debt-collection service, but Wells said he was disappointed with the results.
"Tigard has the highest rate of collections at 11 percent," Wells said. "King City got 7 ½ percent. I thought more like 15 to 20 percent would be collected."
Wells added that his No. 1 goal "is keeping the city (financially) healthy."
Speaking of budgets, this is the time of year for the city's Budget Committee to meet, and the first meeting is set for May 4. The agenda calls for a chair to be elected, the budget message to be presented and a period for public comment.
Additional meetings if needed are scheduled for May 11 and May 18.
At its June 1 meeting, the City Council will hold a budget hearing, adopt the budget, levy taxes and make appropriations.
The city has openings on the Budget Committee, and interested King City residents are encouraged to apply.