Today, Modesto Mayor Jim Ridenour released his Fiscal Year (FY) 2011-12 Proposed Budget and Message to the public.
The City of Modesto continues to experience impacts of the national and global financial crisis that began in 2008 and is still unfolding in 2011. Although the City has fared relatively well in comparison with other cities in the Central Valley, Modesto has, by no means, has been immune to the ramifications of the recession. A decline in major revenue sources coupled with a continued increase in expenditures has led to a projected General Fund deficit of $9.7 million for FY 2011-12. The Mayor’s Proposed Budget for FY 2011-12 is balanced while maintaining at least a reserve of $7 million.
“We have seen vividly over the past few years that financial stability requires constant and disciplined monitoring and action,” said Mayor Ridenour. “We have done this over the past three years and will continue to do so as we navigate through these challenging economic times.”
In his Proposed Budget Message, the Mayor is asking the City Council’s Finance Committee to consider $5.4 million in reductions to bring the General Fund spending in line with projected revenues as well as the use of $4.3 million in fund balance carry-forward to ensure a balanced budget. Total General Fund revenues for FY 2011-12 are anticipated to be $102 million; down nearly $25 million from the City’s adopted budget for FY 2008-09 when the recession began.
Public safety remains the City’s top priority, spending approximately 68% of the General Fund on police and fire services. The remaining 32% of the General Fund is proposed to be strategically budgeted to preserve core services in other areas such as park maintenance, planning, finance and human resource services. The areas proposed for reductions that will likely result in the most noticeable change in service delivery include:
· Reduction in police staffing. The City will continue to redeploy officers to the most critical areas; however, response times to specific neighborhood complaints regarding quality of life issues may be delayed as a result of decreased staffing.
· Reduction of six (6) fire personnel will close down the full-time operation of an Engine.
· Urban forestry and tree trimming activities will be reduced, resulting in a delay of pruning and removal from 7.5 years to 9 years.
· Community and Economic Development will further reduce staff, increasing the turnaround time for development plan reviews and reduction of planning projects, zoning code updates and annexations.
· Park restrooms will continue to be closed for about 12 weeks a year during off-peak months.
· Continuation of reduced watering at certain City parks and a slower response time to park vandalism and repairs.
The Mayor encourages all citizens to stay informed about the budget process and to participate in the Finance Committee Budget Workshops beginning May 9. The workshops will be held in Council Chambers located in the basement of Tenth Street Place, 1010 Tenth Street. The schedule for the workshops is as follows:
· Monday, May 9 beginning at 9 a.m.
· Thursday, May 12 beginning at 9 a.m.
· Monday, May 16 beginning at 9 a.m. (if needed)
The Finance Committee Budget Workshops will be televised live on AccessModesto on Comcast Cable (channel 7) and Charter Communications (channel 19). They will also be streamed live on the City’s website and can be accessed by visiting http://media.modestogov.com/. The workshops will be archived on the City’s website along with the agendas from the meetings; they will also be burned to DVDs for those who are interested by are not able to attend the workshops in person or watch them on television or the website. The DVDs will be available approximately two weeks after the last workshop and can be purchased for $15 on the second floor of Tenth Street Place.
To view the Mayor’s FY 2011-12 Proposed Budget and Message in their entirety, visit www.modestogov.com and click on Budget Information on the left-hand side.