San Bruno is set to vote on what looks like a positive 2014-15 budget, officials say.
The proposed budget, which the City Council is voting on Tuesday, projects a surplus of $788,800.
“For the first time in many years, we can now finally be confident that the city has pulled through the multi-year Great Recession,” City Manager Connie Jackson said in a budget statement. “Continuing a trend of the last four years, the recommended budget projects general fund revenues exceeding expenditures. For the coming year the good news of economic recovery allows the City Council the opportunity to consider some limited new initiatives to help position the city for the future.”
A majority of the $37.4 million in projected general fund revenue comes from taxes in six different categories. Sales tax, property tax, transient occupancy tax (TOT), motor vehicle license fees, card room regulatory fees and business taxes make up nearly 69 percent of the total revenue categories.
“This is a very positive situation for the city. At the same time, there remains many competing demands for these limited resources,” Jackson wrote, adding the proposed budget proposes limited supplemental expenditures presented as “Service Level Enhancements.”
These enhancements include technology upgrades, expanded recreation programs, routine cleaning and adding new employees.
Meanwhile, sales tax is bringing in an estimated $7.67 million, while property tax is at $7.36 million. The gradual economic recovery has brought steady gains in sales tax revenue. In 2014-15, the city anticipates that sales tax revenue will increase 4 percent. TOT revenue is $2.5 million. Since the 2010-11 fiscal year, TOT revenue has increased by nearly 42 percent. This increase is due in part to the 2 percent tax rate increase approved by voters in 2009 and to the increase in business travel to San Bruno by major corporate offices locating in the city in the last several years, including Walmart.com, YouTube and the online jewelry retailer Stella and Dot. The thousands of employees in these businesses and others use local businesses for meals and shopping creating additional economic value in the community, according to the budget.
The proposed budget notes the most significant revenue indicator of the growth in business activity is the city’s business license tax. While not one of the largest general fund revenue categories at $3.2 million since 2011-12, the city has seen a 73 percent increase in business tax revenue as a result of an increased number of sizable businesses locating in San Bruno.
The city also benefits from the collection of an airport parking tax that contributes to the business tax revenue for the city.
In terms of city staff hiring news, the city will add a few full-time positions, including a police officer, code enforcement officer, recreation services coordinator and parks maintenance worker.
“We’ve been very conservative over the last number of years when times were tough,” said Mayor Jim Ruane. “We’re going to pick up a few employees and a couple capital improvement projects.”
The Crestmoor (Glenview) Recovery Program was developed after the Sept. 10, 2010, gas pipeline explosion and fire in the Crestmoor Neighborhood to track city costs associated with the response and recovery effort. Expenditures of $3.3 million will go into neighborhood fixes.
Since 2007-08, expenditures have increased by a total of 10 percent. The increase in proposed expenditures results primarily from increases in base operating costs. Included in this is the fact that the total water enterprise budget is anticipated to increase by $918,400 for total operating costs of $8.68 million. The increase is primarily the result of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission increase in wholesale water rates by 18 percent, effective July 1.
“After years of having to make difficult choices and eliminating jobs and critical services in order to prepare a balanced budget, it is rewarding to finally see the coming fiscal year with optimism that perhaps the worst of the global economic crisis is now behind us and that the fiscal condition of the city is improving,” Jackson wrote. “Time will tell whether the current positive revenue trends will continue. What we know for sure is that the city remains confronted with significant challenges as well as important opportunities.”
This is the first time since Councilman Michael Salazar joined the council in 2009 that the city has been able to replace some positions that have been eliminated.
“It’s very uneventful in a good way,” he said.
The council will vote on the budget 7 p.m. June 24 at the city’s senior center, 1555 Crystal Springs Road in San Bruno.
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