Members of the City Council are set to get an update on the city’s finances at a special! meeting Tuesday night, and it sounds like the news isn’t all bad: The city actually ended the 2009 fiscal year with a surplus, just released budget documents show.
When all was said and done – the “said” being projections that showed the city would be $4 million in the hole by the end of the fiscal year, the “done” being spending cuts, a hiring freeze and ultimately, layoffs – the city actually spent about $3.4 million less than it raked into its general fund budget, which covers public safety, parks and other city services. City leaders put just shy of $1.5 million into the city’s savings, which were just shy of $10 million at the end of the year as a result.
Had the cuts not been made, the city would have had about $2.6 million less than it budgeted to cover services paid for by its general fund.
The City Council approved a $75.9 million budget for its 2008-2009 fiscal year. But city leaders later said Alameda would face a $4 million shortfall and made cuts. Ultimately, the city took in about $73.8 million and spent $70.4 million, newly released figures show.
Five city funds went into the red this past year – the city’s parking garage, technology service, risk management, unemployment insurance and workers compensation. The funds that cover the city’s bonds and pension obligations also declined 7 percent, though none of those went into the red.
The city took in $689,540 more in property taxes than it anticipated, but about $1 million less in property transfer tax – the tax you pay when you sell your house – than city officials anticipated. Alameda also brought in slightly less sales tax revenue than planned, but took in about a half million dollars more in fees for service.
Separately, council members will be getting presentations on the city’s redevelopment budgets (more on that after I’ve heard the presentation). Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant will also talk about the Chuck Corica Golf Complex’s finances. (Long story short: Revenues have declined almost every year since 2000, though they rose last year when a private company took over management of the course. And play has dropped off over the decade, most precipitously at the Mif Albright short course the city just tried to close, which saw rounds decline by nearly half between 2002-03 and 2007-08. The golf folks say those figures still show the complex turning a profit before the city takes its cut, and they are working to get a non-profit to run the Mif.)
The fun begins at 7 p.m. (if the council actually starts on time) in the council chambers at City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue. And if you’re interested in the nitty gritty numbers, they’re (almost) all right here.