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City’s general fund is projected to carry over a $61,000 surplus by the end of 2018-19 fiscal year

City’s general fund is projected to carry over a $61,000 surplus by the end of 2018-19 fiscal year

By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN

LINDSAY – Lindsay City Council unanimously voted to pass finance director Bret Harmon’s 2018-2019 fiscal year budget, last Tuesday, June 26. While the budget has a clean look that is easy to read and understand, all that was realized were the challenges the City still faces over their finances. 

When Lindsay residents passed Measure O, they were looking forward to making some major improvements to their books, investing in public safety equipment, starting a much needed general fund reserve and paying down some debt. 

Unfortunately things have not quite kicked off without a hitch. Without a full year of the benefit of Measure O, Harmon admitted to council during their budget proposal on June 12 that the additional 1% sales tax revenue was not as much as they had hoped. Rather than making some sizable debt payments and starting a reserve, they are now hoping to stay true to a projected $61,000 general fund surplus.

Harmon could not be reached for comment over what the City would do with the surplus before press time.

The surplus would come after a projected $86,400 transfer from the general fund to the Wellness Center. Harmon said the Wellness Center is improving as an organization but continues to struggle to make ends meet.

“It is breaking even because the [General Fund] will bail it out at the end of the year,” Harmon said to the council during their meeting last week. “There is a lot of good things going on at the Wellness Center…a lot of people are pleased with Lisa and think she is doing a great job.”

The Wellness Center hopes to increase its revenue by adding another business tenant to the building. Additional revenue will help alleviate the burden placed on the general fund to keep the center afloat while also offsetting the exorbitant cost of maintaining the pool. According to Harmon’s approved budget, with the $86,400 transfer the wellness center would have a small surplus of $333 by the end of fiscal year 2018-2019. But the wellness center is not the only enterprise fund expected to walk away with a surplus by next June.

The water fund is expected to stash away $36,242 next year. It is a $82,742 swing into the positive as the budget projected a water fund loss of $46,500 at the end of the 2017-2018 fiscal year. But the problems still lie ahead of the fund. 

“Mike is doing a lot of come up with ways to enhancing the capacity of the plants, wells and everything to make sure we have the water supply that we need here but it relies a lot on grant funding,” Harmon said.

Staff indicated that while this fiscal year is fully funded the next one is not likely to be. As staff said at the June 12 meeting rates will likely have to be raised to maintain the system and make repairs where necessary.

Lindsay’s sewer fund took a big hit between 2017 and now 2018 dropping their surplus by 50% down to $141,400. Harmon projects that by June 2019 the City’s sewer fund will see just a $16,749 surplus. Meanwhile, in their refuse, the City is projecting yet another loss by next June. As of last Tuesday, the City expected to lose $34,200 in their refuse fund, and by next year they expect to lose $19,529.

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