March 13, 2023 – The five year plan, brought back every March for reintroduction, brings information on growth, expenditures, staffing needs and other financial impacts for the City of Clovis.
The main emphasis of this is the general fund which includes everything from public safety, parks, safety as well as other avenues.
According to Finance Director Jay Schengel, the budget is currently balanced. He does warn of great increases that are coming for sewer, water, and sanitation.
Replacement vehicles have been funded for the city, with most vehicles being leased throughout the city including fire trucks.
An emergency reserve of 23% remains while the goal is 25%. It was explained that revenues and demand for expenditures have been hindering progress in the process.
Emergency reserve dollars and one time monies used for projects and funded for reserves are assisting in maintaining the 23%.
Sales tax dollars in terms of a trend line in the last several years have accosted seven digit gains as “people are changing” what they spend money on. These numbers for sales tax revenues are optimistic according to city staff.
Growth in one time revenues has been unsustainable therefore forcing city staff to reset their ongoing basis in a forecast. Large spikes in one time monies that have been spent on one time projects, in order to continue certain programs, have represented over $27 million.
Enterprise funds, one of the few places where revenues exceed expenditures, have been planned for according to city staff.
One time capital committees at regional facilities incur expenditures. One time land purchases that have spiked in the past couple of years have increased costs for the city, but without these a balance would not be brought to the budget.
Property taxes were 1.1 million above what was projected, but that is due to growing faster than anticipated, meaning more homes built within city limits in the past year.
A certain lag may affect property taxes and the city’s projection as if the homes the city believes will be built are not built, there may be a budget deficit that the city does anticipate.
On Measure C, if the proposition were to go away, several million dollars would decrease and therefore decrease the general fund.
The TOT increase will start to see funds in $500,000-600,000 in next year’s budget.
Forecasting for five officers next year, and with three officers coming for each year looks to be the outcome of this expected budget increase.
Even if the city is able to hire the five officers in the next year and three per year in the next four years, they will still be 15-20 positions behind the desired number by Police Chief Curt Fleming.
Councilman Matt Basgall asked, “I said it as Chief, I’m saying it now, we are gonna lose parts of this city if we don’t figure this out now…Do we need to start looking at how we spend our money, how we make our money?”
Basgall then quickly mentioned the possibility of advocating for a public safety tax.
City Manager stated that as of now, without the added $500,000-$600,000 to the public safety budget, 87% of the $100 million general fund budget is being used for public safety.
“We either increase the reserves, or decrease expenditures.”
Councilman Bessinger then floated the idea of using the reserve funds, funds that City Staff would not support using, in order to further fund public safety, stating the council as a whole has the ability to “set the direction”.