After months of workshops and discussions, the Antioch City Council approved its 2014-15 operating budget for the upcoming year with a 4-1 vote.
The $43 million budget includes hiring more police officers on the street; improve code enforcement, a reduction in library services and doing away with earthquake insurance.
With Councilman Gary Agopian casting the lone “no” vote, the Council approved the budget with little to no discussion during last night’s meeting.
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“We are quiet because we have gone through this process for several months. So we have it down, we asked the hard questions and we appreciate the work that was done,” said Councilman Tony Tiscareno. “There were some issues out there that we didn’t really agree with at times but we have to be financially responsible.”
Over the past several months, the council worked with City Staff on a budget that ensured all the Measure C Funding goes to the Police Department and Code Enforcement—including language Measure C half cent sales tax revenues shall be committed to Police and Code Enforcement services as follows:
- Code Enforcement – In an amount necessary to fund one contract code enforcement officer and any necessary equipment and 20% of the Deputy Director of Community Development dedicated to Code Enforcement services; and
- Police Services – In an amount equal to the total projected Measure C revenue in any given year less the amount allocated to Code Enforcement. The amount will be added to the “base” General Fund appropriation for Police Services as determined in each budget year to determine the total Police Services appropriation in any given fiscal year. Expenditures will be first applied to the General Fund appropriation amount and then Measure C revenue/appropriation. In a fiscal year in which the total actual expenditures are below the total appropriation, the amount of the difference will be considered Measure C savings and committed for use in the next fiscal year.
Overall, the police department will see 97-officers overt the next year and 100-officers the year after while the department as a whole lost two full-time positions (127 positions last year and 125 positions for the upcoming year).
Other items in the budget includes:
- Balanced budget for fiscal year 2015, with the addition of $2,914 to reserves.
- 5% increase in property tax and $450,000 additional property tax projected for the Northeast Annexation areas.
- 1.8% increase in sales tax (excluding Measure C).
- $4,489,747 in projected Measure C revenues committed to Police and Code Enforcement services.
- No funding for maintenance of the downtown library owned by Contra Costa County.
- No earthquake insurance for the Police facility or City Hall.
- Work furloughs and salary reductions still in place.
According to City Manager Steve Duran, the City projected a 5% increase in property taxes and their sales tax projections were conservative. Usually its after the Christmas season they have a better idea on the funding. He also noted that the Landlord Tax, if passed it could add $2.3 million which would be a big deal—but said you can’t count your chickens before they hatch.
Duran also warned the Council that the Economic Development efforts could take a few years before those turn into residences, occupants, and sales tax revenue.
“We are looking at three years before we see a significant increase attributable to property tax and sales tax so there is a big of a delay that is why our projections are conservative,” said Duran. “We hope it’s a little bit brighter.”
Since the original operational budget plan was presented to the Council earlier this year, the city staff made the following updates per council decisions:
- Removal of budget for earthquake insurance for City Hall and the Police Facility as directed by Council due to the high cost.
- Removal of funding for library maintenance of the downtown library facility which is owned by Contra Costa County.
- Addition of one more CSO position in the Police Department to be funded with Measure C at a cost of $95,951.
- Change of Measure C funded position in Police Department from Senior Administrative Assistant to Administrative Analyst 2 (as presented to City Council at the study session held on March 25th) at additional cost of $23,365.
- Purchase of vehicle for additional code enforcement position to be funded with Measure C. This was not included in the original Code Enforcement Measure C budget discussed on March
- Purchase of 3 police patrol vehicles budgeted at a total cost of $120,000 to be funded with Measure C.
- Addition of $500,000 in projected Measure C revenues to be received for fiscal year 2013-14.
- As we do not have an estimated amount from our Sales Tax consultant, we are budgeting a conservative amount and reflecting this to be committed at the end of the fiscal year and added to the Police Department budget allocation in fiscal year 2014-15.
To review the budget in full, visit the City of Antioch website and select the June 10, 2014 meeting agenda