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City Council Unanimously Adopts 2018-2019 Budget
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The expenditures outpace the revenues – which is fairly typical in small cities – but with the use of reserves to cover the shortfall, Escalon City Council members have adopted the budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

While the council got a little break by being able to cancel the Monday, July 2 regular session due to lack of agenda items, they did get the budget in prior to the start of the new fiscal year on July 1. Approval came in a special meeting on June 20, following a budget workshop session.

A few people turned out for the session, which featured an overall review of the budget and a time for questions and answers. Council members welcomed input and City Manager Tammy Alcantor was also on hand to provide specifics about the spending plan.

One audience member noted that, even though the workshop session had been publicized, there wasn’t much of a turnout and suggested that may be because the council “is doing a good job” in terms of keeping the city’s spending under control while providing citizens with essential services.

The city budget – total expenditures – comes in at $15,834,631 for the year. Capital projects makes up 51 percent of the spending plan, at just over $8 million and the general fund expenditures account for about 26 percent, at just over $4 million.

Revenues were listed at $9,537,744 with the difference being made up through reserves.

Property tax makes up the largest amount of revenues for the general fund, at roughly $1.75 million and for the general fund appropriations, public safety leads the list at $2.36 million.

“As is Escalon’s practice, the revenue projections in this budget are conservative,” Alcantor told the council in her ‘Budget at a Glance’ report.

She also noted that the expenditures include financing salary increases, a housing element update and increased costs for an election year. The capital outlay portion of the budget includes funding for replacement of six computers at City Hall, Public Works and the Police Department, as well as purchase of video equipment for the council chambers.

Most significant projects for the city’s Capital Improvement Program in 2018-19 include McHenry trunkline rehab at $1.4 million and South McHenry widening at $1.3 million.

Alcantor said the budget plan provided met special budget objectives including delivering a balanced operating city budget using minimal reserves, maintaining the current level of service to the community, incorporating Council-Manager goals for the new fiscal year and keeping the city’s budget process open and easily understood.

The council voted 5-0 in favor of the spending plan, which went into effect on July 1.