City finance director warns council of possible revenue loss
Liset Marquez, Staff Writer
Created: 05/30/2011 12:11:11 AM PDT

ONTARIO – City officials have been warned – by the steward of its finances – to take further actions in the future to reduce costs in case of declining revenues.

Grant Yee, the city’s finance director, made the recommendation in the city’s third quarter budget report, which was recently approved by the council.

Yee also warned the council about the possibility of a delayed economic growth or a decline beyond current expectations.

“The economy continues to be weak and appears to be weakening,” Yee said. “In looking forward, it doesn’t appear the economy is going to grow fast enough.”

Councilmembers are given updates on the city budget four times a year so they can make any timely adjustments, Yee said.

The report focused on the city’s general fund as well as budget trends and the impact the economy may have to the city’s resources.

To date, Ontario has not had to cut services or lay off staff. Yee credits the city’s financial stability to actions the council took in 2006 when it began setting aside reserves for its five-year Budget Action Plan.

Two years into dipping into its reserves, city expenses are consistent with projections outlined in the plan, Yee said.

“We have to be cautious about our expenditures because in the future the revenues might not come in,” Yee said.

Councilman Jim Bowman said Yee’s recommendations are a reminder to the council of the current economic conditions.

“I think it’s a prudent way to manage the city,” he said. “That’s why Ontario has done really well.”

Yee’s recommendation is the right message at the right time, Bowman said.

No one could have predicted how long the recession has lasted, Bowman said, but Yee and city officials have planned for “the worst and hoped for the best. That’s why we’re solvent.”

With previous recommendations from city officials, the third quarter budget netted $1.4 million more to the city’s $31.5 million general fund than was expected.

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