Officials meet in workshop to comb through nearly complete FY 17 spending plan

By Shea Johnson
Staff Writer
Posted:     May 4, 2016 at 3:28 PM
Updated: May 4, 2016 at 5:53 PM

VICTORVILLE — City officials met in a pre-budget workshop this week, broaching the upcoming fiscal year 2016-17 spending plan, where a little more than $1 million still needs to be trimmed to reach balance.

At this point, the city is projecting $55.9 million in general fund revenues, a 3-percent increase over the prior year, against $57 million in expenses.

Contracts with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s and Fire departments make up two-thirds of general fund expenses, or $37.8 million, according to material provided by the city before Tuesday’s workshop.

The city’s top sheriff and fire officials addressed the City Council during the meeting at City Hall, saying they were cognizant of city budget constraints while acknowledging the departments’ significant share of general fund costs.

County Fire’s Victorville Chief Dan Munsey revealed that calls for service have jumped 25 percent to 16,000 yearly since 2008, $4.1 million in equipment needed replacing and there had been no fire service vehicle replacements in eight years.

Even so, Munsey said this year’s budget includes a request for six new paramedic positions, but County Fire was asking the city to fund only the manpower, not the equipment.

Sheriff’s Victorville Station Capt. Sam Lucia said Wednesday the proposed police contract “is basically a roll over from last year with costs remaining relatively flat,” adding the caveat that this could change due to ongoing negotiations between the county and Safety Employee Benefits Association over salaries and benefits.

Lucia said he has proposed adding a crime analyst to the station who would review every police report to identify emerging patterns. He called the role “unbelievably valuable” and said the Council fully supported public safety and the station’s need to grow.

Community services were the second-biggest hit to projected general fund expenses ($7.6 million), followed by $4.4 million in administrative services costs.

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