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Davis

Davis, California

Sunday, April 21, 2024

City manager updates City Council on budget deficit

On April 15, City Manager Steve Pinkerton gave a presentation to the Davis City Council to update the community about the City of Davis’ current financial predicament and the plans that are being made to alleviate the budget problems.

The report takes into consideration the fiscal years of 2014-15 to 2017-18. It has been estimated that although the revenues for the city will increase by 8.95 percent in that time, the expenditures will further increase by 11.29 percent. This would leave a shortfall of $4.99 million.

The calculations made predicting this shortfall did not take into account the financial circumstances should Measure O, a measure allowing the City of Davis to increase the sales tax by half a cent, pass in the June 2014 elections. This half of a cent increase could bring in extra revenue for the city, but according to Pinkerton would still not be enough to cover the deficit because the revenues from the sales tax would only be coming in for part of the year.

“Cities are not allowed to go out of business, the water still has to run and the services still have to be there, we can’t do this the same way they would do it in the private sector,” Pinkerton said.

The deficit was noted last June during the 2013-14 fiscal year; the following December it was discovered that the deficit had increased. In February, the Davis City Council agreed to put Measure O on the June 2014 ballot.

Between December and April the City has been holding community outreach meetings to have an engaged dialogue with the community to discuss what can be done to repair the budget. The future holds more of these meetings as well as a phone survey.

The cuts Pinkerton presented to City Council included cuts that would need to be made if Measure O doesn’t pass, as well as cuts that could be made whether Measure O passes or not.

“In the Q and A sessions we heard … ‘if you pass this are you going to stop looking for ways to save money?’ Absolutely not,” Pinkerton said.

According to the report, the cuts that will be made no matter the outcome of the June vote include: funding of special projects in the City Managers Office, reduction of advertising, contracting out custodial services and reducing park maintenance among other cuts.

Should the sales tax measure not pass, the Davis City Council will consider a reduction package that cuts all departments across the board, or to cut across the board but hold public safety harmless. Pinkerton said the problem with not cutting public safety along with the rest of the departments is that it has devastating effects on parks and public works, departments that have already been cut to the bare minimum.

“If you don’t have revenue you have a serious problem,” said Dan Carson, a Davis resident.

He said that he believes the reductions that need to be made will not harm the citizens at large and was supportive of the budget report.

In the next budget update, Councilmember Rochelle Swanson wants to hear about some specific short term actions that could be taken to help move the process forward.

“I do we think we need more information, I’m a little concerned we’re not being as aggressive as we could possibly be,” Swanson said.

SYDNEY COHEN can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

Photo by Brian Nguyen.

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