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City budget under review Monday
by Garrett Valenzuela
Apr 19, 2013 | 2126 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune file photo -- The Sparks City Council will assess and discuss the City Manger's budget proposal for the fiscal year of 2013-14 Monday during the regular meeting of the City Council.
Tribune file photo -- The Sparks City Council will assess and discuss the City Manger's budget proposal for the fiscal year of 2013-14 Monday during the regular meeting of the City Council.
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SPARKS -- Sparks City Manager Shaun Carey will release his budget proposal for the fiscal year of 2013-14 on Monday during the Sparks City Council meeting for approval. A “tentative budget” has been filed by the city and the final budget will undergo public comment on May 21 at 9 a.m. before the City Council makes its final decision and the budget is submitted on June 1.

The budget analysis, according to city documents, will highlight budget recommendations, examine a 2 cent property tax increase and discuss the proposed Capital Improvements Plan. The budget will be up for review, discussion, possible changes and direction from the City Council addressing multiple components of revenue, fund disbursement and more.

Budget Summary

Projections for the fiscal year of 2013 show the city’s unrestricted ending fund balance at about $4.7 million, which amounts to total revenues of about $51.6 million and expenditures of about $53.3 million. The recommended budget for the fiscal year of 2014 shows an unrestricted ending fund balance of about $3.7 million comprised of about $53 million in revenues and about $54 million in expenditures.

The current proposal has the General Fund at 7.3 percent of expenditures and the City Manager’s department plans to aim for 8.3 percent of expenditures which will require about $560,000 in reductions during fiscal year of 2014 and another $1,150,000 in fiscal year 2015. Much of the savings in the General Fund, according to the city report, will come from reimbursement from the Development Services Enterprise Fund, which accounts for more than $1.1 million. It was moved to that fund in fiscal years 2010 and 2011. The city said the exchange of funds was made to “subsidize the operations of that Fund until that Fund could become financially stable once again.” The city plans for $60,000 paid back in 2013, another $352,000 in 2014 leaving $704,000.

Property Tax Increase Proposal

The proposed 2 cent increase per $100 of assessed value to the current City of Sparks property tax rate would marginally hike the current rate of Sparks’ current $3.6163 per $100 of assessed value. Sparks currently sits below the state’s required cap of $3.66 per $100 of assessed value.

Carey’s analysis shows each penny increase to the tax rate is expected to generate an additional $189,000 of General Fund revenue before abatement is calculated and raising the property tax to its state max would create $825,000 for the General Fund. The two penny jump would bring about $360,000 for general fund in 2014 and, if approved, would be the first property tax increase for Sparks in nine years.

Closing a $2.5 million Gap

Monday’s proposed budget appropriations would also address a $2.5 million budget gap assessed by the City Council during a March 18 workshop. Initiatives would be put in place, pending approval, bringing a savings of $2,490,000 which would combine with prior planned savings of $4,016,000 stemming from salary reductions, temporary health contribution reductions and other temporary reductions.

The City Council cited the property tax increase, a shift in funds from gas/electric franchise fees, city staff training budget reductions, reductions in fire and police costs and temporary reduction of Parks and Rec costs.

The City Council will assess and discuss all of the City Manager’s proposals Monday at 2 p.m. inside the City of Sparks Legislative Chambers.
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