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City adopts $190 million operating budget

Wednesday the City Council adopted the City of Escondido’s Annual Operating Budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

At approximately $190 million for all operating funds, this budget is balanced without using reserves, and provides for full City operations, including a fully staffed and equipped Police and Fire Department.

City Manager Jeff Epp declared that, “Since 2010, and for seven consecutive years, the City has balanced its budget without using reserves or raising taxes.”

The appropriation total for all operating funds is $189,487,650 and for the General Fund is $98,673,990, for fiscal year 2017-18. Reserves remain intact at $17,392,319.

“We believe this operating budget provides for a City which is safe, clean, and efficiently run, consistent with the policy priorities established by the City Council,” wrote Epp.

The City Council has made Public Safety its highest priority, and so, appropriately enough, public safety comprises two thirds of the General Fund.  According to Epp: “Equipment for both of these departments is continually assessed for high quality service delivery. This year’s budget includes complete radio replacements and associated infrastructure. The Police budget reflects an increase of 4.5% and the Fire Budget reflects an increase of 3.3%. Police, Code Enforcement, Public Works and Community Development Block Grant budgets continue with a focus on public safety and appearance.”

With the dark clouds of increased CalPERS employer contributions looming on the horizon, the city is starting to batten down the hatches to prepare for this. Epp wrote: “It is also the City’s goal to maintain ongoing financial structural stability. Financial capacity is aligned with long-term service objectives. As part of this process, the City will be evaluating opportunities for outsourcing City operations such as graffiti eradication, library services, plan checking services, shopping cart retrieval and other areas where cost savings or additional efficiencies can occur without disrupting service levels.”

Wrote Epp: “Due to the significant cost of CalPERS, the City has made this a top priority for budget planning and fiscal stability.”

The City’s Five-Year Capital Improvement Program and 2017/18 Capital Improvement Project Budget is scheduled to go before Council this week on Wednesday, June 21.

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