More money

Josh Dulaney, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/14/2010 09:03:19 PM PST

SAN BERNARDINO – The city’s budget shows slight improvement over the same time last year, according to a first quarter report set to go before the City Council next week.

“Unlike last year when we had all these shortfalls, I don’t see that we’re in that same position,” said Finance Director Barbara Pachon, at a Tuesday meeting of the Ways and Means Committee. “We’re in a better position this year.”

Using revenue figures from July through September, Pachon painted a picture of a city economy showing some signs of life, or not as many signs of death.

In August, the council voted, 5-2, to approve more than $11 million in budget cuts to address a budget shortfall projected to reach $7.8 million in fiscal 2012.

Through Sept. 30, the city has collected 10 percent of its budgeted revenues, or roughly $11.8 million.

Sales tax revenues reflect only one month of collection, but economic indicators imply that sales revenue decline may nearly be over, and there is evidence of some retail growth, according to the report.

Measure Z revenue, which comes from a quarter-cent sales tax hike approved by voters in 2006 to help fund police hiring and youth services, is $602,826 or about $200,000 higher than this time last year.

Like sales tax, the city has only received one payment of Measure Z revenue for fiscal 2010-11, so more payments are needed before a clear trend emerges.

Property tax revenue is difficult to project at this time because the first payments will not be received until the end of the month.

But the city has received an update from the county Property Tax Division that the city’s net valuation is down about 4.5 percent from last year, which is in line with what was assumed in the 2010-11 adopted budget.

Pachon said the valuation was down about 17 percent the year before.

“The growth back is going to be very slow.” Pachon said. “It’s at least a positive sign if we at least start seeing that we have hit the bottom.”

Spending has reached 27.6 percent of the budget. At the same time last year, the city had spent 26.9 percent of the total amount expended.

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