By Rene Ray De La Cruz, Staff Writer
Posted Jun. 26, 2016 at 10:09 AM

HESPERIA — The City Council recently approved its “balanced budget” as it moves into the beginning of its fiscal year on Friday.

The Council, minus councilmen Mike Leonard and Eric Schmidt who were absent during Tuesday’s meeting, approved the 422 document after discussing the budget over several meetings.

The Hesperia Council remarked that the $78 million balanced budget in all revenue departments for 2016-17 came in with “no raised taxes or increase in fees.”

The budget had an increase of 15-percent or $7.9 million over the previous year, mainly due to the Eagle Hesperia 55 Senior Housing Loan Agreement payment, and the replacement of equipment and vehicles.

“We chose not to raise fees for any part of this budget,” Mayor Pro Tem Paul Russ told the Daily Press. “Revenue is up because we had 60 new business licenses and 27 grand openings.”

The increase also includes reimbursement to the Community Development Block Grant fund for the land upon which the San Bernardino County and Sheriff’s Station were built, and for off-site improvements.

Both the City’s General Fund and Water District are balanced, with a surplus above the 10-percent reserve level. The Fire District shows Estimated Cash Reserves as not applicable, which is due to having negative cash on June 2015. The report noted that as of April 2015, the cash deficit was $156,897, with the Fire District Capital Fund covering the negative cash.

The budget for the General Fund is projecting an increase in revenues of 5-percent, or $1.2 million over last year, with four major General Fund revenues increases including Sales and Use Tax revenue projecting a 3-percent decrease to $8.3 million.

Vehicle License Fee revenue is expecting an increase of over $0.5 million to $7.5 million.

Development-Related revenues, including Building Permit Fees, anticipating to be $0.2 million, or a 12-percent increase, to $1.6 million. And Leased Water Rights revenue of $1.9 million, which primarily pays for the debt service on the 2012 Bonds issued for

the purchase of water rights. This revenue is projected to increase $0.3 million or roughly 18-percent over last year’s budget of $1.6 million.

Revenue is anticipated to increase by 8 percent overall, with the General Fund increasing by 5-percent, which is due to increased Sales and Use Tax, Vehicle License Fee, and Development-Related Revenue, as 150 building permits are planned to be received during June 2017

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