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Tehachapi 2014-15 budgets shipshape

The Forde Files No 75

City of Tehachapi budget FY 2014-15 City-wide

Revenue $16,991,975 Expenditures $16,799,357

It was with a large measure of pride that Tehachapi City Manager Greg Garrett and Finance Director Hannah Chung presented the 2014-15 fiscal year budget and preliminary five-year budget to the City Council June 23.

“The budget is spot on,” Garrett told Forde Files. “We’re very proud to be working for the city of Tehachapi. The entire team, staff and residents are of one accord.”

Garrett said the city has chosen to invest in tools like public works, vehicles and police cars.

“We retain and improve our service and invest in assets.” He said.

“A lot of thought was put into the budget, into collecting the right amount of dollars – not over-collecting or under-collecting. It’s like a well-oiled machine. You don’t want tons of cash or to be running in the red.”

The stability of a balanced budget, Garrett wrote in a letter accompanying the presentation, “is made possible by the sustained commitment of our city staff to provide high quality services as efficiently as possible.”

That commitment takes effort and compromise from all department heads.

“Everybody has their wish list of doing things,” Finance Director Hannah Chung said to Forde Files. “When cutting is necessary, sometimes there are volunteers [to sacrifice pet projects or needs]. The people in this organization, they understand there are certain things we cannot do. We are blessed.”

The city executive team members signed Garrett’s letter – Assistant City Manager Chris Kirk, Finance Director Hannah Chung, Chief of Police (since retired) Jeff Kermode and Public Works Director Jon Curry.

Garrett pledged to continue delivering balanced budgets and to keep an open door at City Hall.

“Additionally, we pledge to do all of this great work in a transparent way. Our doors, our meetings and our books are open. For years, we’ve encouraged community involvement in our decision making processes and we continue to do so today.”

The total fiscal year 2014-15 city-wide revenue will be $16,991,975.,

The total city-wide expenditures will be $16,799,357. (See pie charts)

The top General Fund revenue sources for 2014-15 are: sales tax, 41.3 percent, vehicle license fee, 18.6 percent, property taxes, 14.6 percent, transient occupancy tax (TOT), 9.3 percent, project management service, 5.9 percent, franchise tax, 3.0 percent, construction service, 2.5 percent, business license, 1.8 percent, sales tax public safety, 1.5 percent and landscape service, 1.4 percent.

The TOT has dropped after a spike in 2013-14 due to an audit of local hotels, several of which paid a total of $700,000 in adjusted taxes.

Other sources of general fund revenue for FY 2014-15 are (in order of amount, highest first): construction service fees ($150,000), business license taxes ($107,111), landscape service fees $60,000, service/admin charges, ($70,000) plan check fees($48,000), misc. revenue ($45,000), building permits (a total of $30,000), interest income, court fines CHP ($24,000), police grants, planning application fees ($20,000), passport processing revenue, traffic safety, and nine more, down to $200 for maps, copying and planning.

One of the most interesting five-year actual and budget financial charts on the city web site (Go to http://www.tehachapicityhall.com, city government, city clerk, agendas) shows a steady climb in sales tax income for the city to 2017, when it hits $3 million (the Walmart impact?), a near flatline of motor vehicle tax, a similar flatline for property tax (2010 is the same as 2017 at $1 million), a flatline for lodging with the slight peak in 2013-14, and flatlines at the bottom of the chart for franchise and business taxes.