Wendy Leung, Staff Writer
Created: 06/01/2011 09:11:22 PM PDT

RANCHO CUCAMONGA – The city has weaned itself from using reserves to balance its budget, thanks to a slight uptick in revenue and adjustments to the so-called “new normal.”

City Manager Jack Lam told the City Council at a budget workshop last week that the city has achieved a “soft landing,” a budgetary approach that combines cutbacks and use of reserves without major disruptions to services.

“We believe this is a significant milestone in this three-year trek through the economic doldrums,” Lam said.

On June 9, the council is expected to approve a $94.5 million budget – which includes the library and fire district funds – at a special meeting.

The 2011-12 fiscal budget shows about a

2 percent increase from the previous year.

The city’s General Fund revenues – consisting of sales tax, property tax, vehicular licence fees and other fees – inched up, an indication that after about four years of revenue decline, the bottom has been reached.

Lam told the council that the city should expect to wallow in this bottom for a few years.

In the past three years, the city has tapped into its rainy-day funds to balance the budget.

Last year, the city took almost $950,000 from reserves to make up for the revenue shortfall.

Mayor Dennis Michael said the council set a goal this year to not touch the reserves.

“The reason for that is if we can get away from depending on reserves, we can start growing our organization as it needs to grow,” Michael said.

The city has $13.7 million in reserve.

Like other municipalities up and down the state, Rancho Cucamonga has been hit hard by the recession and take-aways from Sacramento. But core services such as public safety, libraries, community centers have not been significantly affected.

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