The City Staff continues to “monitor the deficit” as our revenue projections are way off.

The packet is out for the meeting on October 20, 2020. It is a shorter agenda with the financial reporting agenda item 7-A. The information for this item in the packet starts at page 42.

A quote from the section on Revenues. Bold is mine.

“The expectations for Charges for Services is  based on historical first quarter collections during 2017-2019 that have ranged from $1.3to $1.5million. The expectation for the current period was tied to the lower end of that scale due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Even with this lowered expectation it appears that revenues are $624,000 under budget at this point in time.”

Remember two posts ago when I said that the end of the year projection was a surplus of just $663,032. So no action here and we end with zero surplus. And surplus is a misleading word since we have an 8.5 million loan that any “surplus” would be used to pay off. The initial reports from the un-audited budget from 19/20 are that we ended that year with a 2.3 million deficit.

The summary quote states-bold is mine

“The Amended Budget anticipates a General Fund surplus of $662,000. The expenditure side of the budget is relatively certain, but there is uncertainty surrounding revenues, especially Charges for Services which is predominantly Recreation Department Revenues. The projected $2.3 million General Fund deficit from the last fiscal year will be partially mitigated by the projected surplus. It must be noted that one time revenues, government grants, or unforeseen increases in revenues will help reduce the deficit further. Staff will continue to monitor the deficit and report to City Council through the monthly reports.”

So even with a reports saying projections are off the city staff are insisting that all is well. We may still see some “unforeseen increase in revenue.”

How about we recognize we are

  1. Almost bankrupt
  2. In a recession
  3. Making projections based on years that are not 2020 with all of its complications.

If you look at the budget figures provided in the packet it seems that the projections for revenue are higher than 19/20. I would like to know why that is? How is the Finance Director making these projections and can we trust them given the history of El Cerrito financial projections?

So actions-please again write the council and send it an email for comment to the City Clerk for public comment at the meeting cityclerk@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us-the budget is item 7A on the agenda

Karen Pinkos-City Manager kpinkos@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us

Greg Lyman-Mayor glyman@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us

Paul Fadelli Vice Mayor pfadelli@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us

Councilperson Pardue-Okimoto rpardueokimoto@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us

Councilperson Janet Abelson jabelson@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us

Councilperson Gabe Quinto gquinto@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us

Suggested comments

  1. When will the council take action and make cuts commensurate with the seriousness of the situation?
  2. Please require the Finance Director to report on how he is making revenue assumptions with all the assumptions he is using listed.
  3. When does the council intend to deal with rising Cal-Pers costs and how?
  4. Please require that the Finance Director follow up on the questions the Mayor asked last time about financing charges being down so substantially.
  5. Please have council members state on the record why they are refusing to ask for more cuts (exception is Councilperson Pardue-Okimoto who has been asking)
  6. Please state clearly any revenue that is expected but has not been reported on. It seems that we keep hearing about one-time revenue sources but have not seen any specifics.

One thought on “The City Staff continues to “monitor the deficit” as our revenue projections are way off.

  1. With sales tax and business tax revenue certain to be down, along with decreases in revenue from new building department permits, revenue will be much lower than last year. We will have to see whether property tax rates will go down 1% or not, but overall the imagined surplus is just that imagined. Past projected budgets have all been far off, but this one is not even close to being honest.

    The phrase, “Rearranging the lounge chairs on the Titanic”, comes to mind. I don’t know quite why, haha.

    Like

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