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Final Spending Plan In Place
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By a 3-2 vote, Escalon City Council members on Tuesday night approved revisions to the city budget for fiscal year 2009-2010, putting the final spending plan into place.

Voting in favor of the package were Mayor Walt Murken and councilmen Jeff Laugero and Gary Haskin, with the no votes cast by councilmen Ed Alves and Danny Fox.

The Sept. 8 session was one day later than normal due to the Labor Day holiday observance on Sept. 7.

The council adopted the city budget on July 20, but since then, with passage of the state budget, revisions had to be made and the revised 'final' plan was brought back before the council on Tuesday.

Changes to the plan include the loss of $137,000 from the city's property tax revenue due to borrowing by the state, along with the sale of surplus property by the city that will bring in an estimated $168,000 in revenue.

Staff also reconsidered the Capital Improvement Program and expanded one project and ordered completion of another. The council action to approve the budget will now allow for expanding a Stanislaus Street rehabilitation project and the addition of a water repair project on Jackson Avenue.

Also, the council agreed to reinstate a part-time Animal Control assistant position for a weekend worker to take care of the animals at the shelter, four hours per day, Saturday and Sunday.

The end result of the revisions is a reduction of the earlier projected budget deficit from $320,626 to $97,156 and the budget also includes a one-time loan from the city's own reserves to cover the $137,000 loss in the general fund to make up for the state take.