June 18, 2012 3:31 PM
Brooke Edwards Staggs, City Editor
Victorville’s 2012-13 budget: By the numbers:
VICTORVILLE • For the first time in four years, Victorville has balanced its budget without making deep cuts or dipping into reserves.
“This is an important step for the city to get us back on track financially,” City Manager Doug Robertson said via email Monday. “This balanced budget was accomplished through years of cuts and through the hard work and perseverance of the City Council and staff.”
Victorville faced a $13.4 million deficit for the 2009-10 fiscal year. The city closed that gap by laying off 64 people and demoting 29 more, plus reducing employee benefits and furloughing staff by closing City Hall every Friday.
Cuts continued during the 2010-11 and current 2011-12 fiscal years, with Victorville now down nearly 250 employees since 2008.
One area where the city hasn’t cut has been public safety, Robertson pointed out.
Victorville’s contract with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department was set to increase by $1 million this year without any increase in service, in part to offset general increases in the county’s budget, according to the report included in Tuesday night’s City Council agenda.
To offset that hike, city staff is recommending Victorville eliminate five positions — including a detective, a service specialist and two school resource officers — that have been kept vacant to save money. The county has reimbursed Victorville for those vacancies during past years, but taking them off the books altogether means the city doesn’t need to budget for them now. That reduced the contract hike down to $419,584, which Victorville will be able to absorb.
The city is also absorbing a $715,211 increase to its contract with the San Bernardino County Fire Department. That hike also doesn’t include any increases in staffing or service, according to the city. Instead, it reflects additional labor and compensation costs, with city staff studying whether Victorville might need to increase rates as a result.
Robertson is recommending another major reorganization of staff for the coming year that includes raises for eight managers, along with changing their titles and upping their responsibilities. City Engineer Sean McGlade, for example, would become the Director of Public Works and see his compensation increase by $12,168 a year for a $150,000 salary. Adele Mosher, who is currently the assistant director of finance, would become the city’s chief financial officer and earn an extra $9,000 to $10,000 each year for up to $115,932 before benefits.
The 2012-13 budget also calls for $23 million in capital improvement projects, funded largely by designated taxes and fees, grants and certain operating revenues.
The single largest expense is $8 million for ongoing work on the La Mesa/Nisqualli interchange. Crews began construction of the long-awaited bridge over Interstate 15 in February, with the project expected to wrap in summer 2013.
Victorville will also spend $1.9 million on local road improvements including repairing Bear Valley Road from Interstate 15 to Cottonwood Avenue, working on the High Desert Corridor and improving streets in the Golden Triangle area. Another $1.9 million will go toward traffic signals at Palmdale and Cantina roads, Amethyst Road and Hook Boulevard, and along La Mesa Road in anticipation of the new interchange opening.
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