Monday, June 13, 2011

Sacramento Bee: City of Elk Grove Balances Budget; Hires New Positions

Elk Grove balances its budget, plans to hire 7

Despite the sour economy and budget cuts throughout the region, the Elk Grove City Council last week adopted a balanced budget with reserves, maintaining its level of police and fire protection while adding seven employees to various departments.

The council unanimously approved a $148.8 million operating budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, with a reserve of $13.6 million. The budget reflected an increase in retail sales tax of nearly 8 percent over the previous fiscal year.

City officials said the spending plan also maintains the current level of service to Elk Grove residents, including public safety and economic development.

The budget proposes to draw $1.3 million from city reserve funds, but the remaining $13.6 million in the reserves is about 27 percent of the city's annual general fund operating costs, which exceeds the preferred fund balance reserve of 20 percent set by city policy.

Mayor Steve Detrick said organizational restructuring and reducing operating expenses helped make sure residents "do not feel the sting" of recent economic downturns. City Manager Laura Gill said the city tightened its belt to weather "the worst economic times in our city's history."

The budget adds seven new positions, including an economic development director, a finance analyst and workers in the traffic and animal control divisions.

The plan also will kick in the first pay raise for city workers since 2008, based on employee performance.
In a separate vote, the council approved a five-year, $250 million capital improvement program, which includes the East Stockton Boulevard sound wall renovation, a household hazardous waste facility, and the proposed Civic Center.

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