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City Council OKs Budget
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Following a workshop and special Escalon City Council meeting on June 30, the 2015-16 fiscal year budget for the city was adopted as proposed.

It took effect the following day, the start of the fiscal year on July 1.

“We had six members of the public, all five council members and staff at the meeting,” noted City Manager Tammy Alcantor.

There were some questions from the public during the workshop regarding the status of the Industrial Sewer Fund, if the study of the water system had been completed, and confirmation that the money received from Tracy for water is being set aside for future connection to the SSJID Water Treatment Plant, noted the city manager.

“Council had questions regarding the General Fund Reserve, the potential of purchasing a generator for the Wastewater Treatment Plant, and concerns regarding the General Fund deficit but noting we are still able to have a 33 percent operating reserve for the General Fund,” Alcantor added.

The city’s combined proposed annual budget projects revenue in the amount of $8,209,656 and expenditures of $11,724,385 – which would put the city in a deficit situation.

“This is City Wide revenue and expenditures and while it appears to have a large deficit there are existing reserved funds that will be used to cover the expenditures,” Alcantor explained. “In the General Fund we have total revenues of $3,210,990 with a total of $3,614,535 in expenditures resulting in a deficit of $403,545.”

The deficit includes reduction of Equipment Reserve of $40,800, reduction of the General Fund Reserve for the debit service for the Civic Center and Community Center of $157,420 and a decrease by the deficit of $205,326 in the operating budget.

“Rate studies for Domestic and Industrial Sewer are due to be completed by the end of year,” added Alcantor. “Included in the Water operating budget is the cost to have the water system evaluated to ensure system-wide safety, ensure we are meeting state regulations and requirements and identify any improvements needed to maintain peak water supply.”

There are also three street projects scheduled for the year, including Phase II of First Street (Oklahoma to Sanchez), Escalon Avenue (SR120 to Northern City Limits) and Miller Avenue (Escalon Avenue to Stanislaus).

Alcantor said department heads provided her with their individual budgets and were able to hold the line fairly well on expenditures, as the city continues to operate with a pared down staff but striving to meet day to day needs.

City council members also worked with Alcantor to identify goals for the new fiscal year and those are: to complete sale of the regional park and purchase additional park land; complete the domestic and industrial sewer rate study; and finalize the McHenry Avenue lift station location.

City Mayor Gary Haskin, Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Laugero and council members Ed Alves, Danny Fox and Robert Swift all voted in favor of the budget.