Valley News -

By Tony Ault
Staff Writer 

Menifee City Council views highlights from proposed 2019-2020 fiscal year budget


Last updated 5/24/2019 at 12:33am

Tony Ault photo

Jonathan Nicks, Menifee Community Services director, forwards his department's planned projects for the coming year at the May 15 city budget workshop.

Menifee Deputy City Manager Rochelle Clayton presented the city council with an annual budget report Wednesday, May 15, during a workshop to review the assumptions and sources in the city's fiscal year 2019-2020 preliminary budget.

The workshop is the fourth meeting of the city council and stakeholders to establish the 2019-2020 fiscal year budget. The preliminary budget was finalized in an earlier meeting following the city department submittals and review.

The preliminary budget presented the council provides a general fund balance of $50,280,785 between anticipated revenues and expenditures. A separate Measure DD revenue and expenditure report shows a proposed budget of $10,640,000, a 9.48% drop from last years proposed budget. The total general fund revenues and expenditures, including Measure DD funds, total $60,920,785. The council will decide on adopting the budget at its June 5 regular meeting.

The May 15 workshop, preceding the regular city council meeting, provided the council and stakeholders highlights of the proposed budget that predicted the property tax revenue to increase 12.85% over the fiscal year 2018-2019 budget. Sales tax revenue is expected to stay at last fiscal year levels for the new budget cycle. Franchise fees are anticipated to decrease $150,000 from the current budget. Natural Gas franchise fees are anticipated to remain low resulting in low franchise fees. Total development fees are budgeted with a 15% decrease from the prior year adjusted budget to take a conservative approach to planning and forecasting. Public safety costs to increase for fire and police due mostly to the crossover year for the Menifee Police Department and Riverside County Sheriff.

The budget allows for 81 new city positions with the greatest being the new police department in the process of hiring 75 sworn and non-sworn officers with Measure DD and General Fund revenues. The Community Development Department is seeking the reclassification of a planning technician to an assistant planner position that will bring the authorized city positions to 225.18 employees versus 126.96 in fiscal year 2018-2019.

Breaking down the proposed General Fund expenditures, Clayton showed the predicted cost for each of the city's nine departments. They include $25,775.889 for public safety; $8,117.691 for administration; $5,552,960 for public works engineering; $3,302,175 for community development; $2,199,830 for building and safety; $2,875, 607 for community services; $1,495,621 for economic development; $788,781 for code enforcement and $172,231 for city council.

One of the council members quipped, "The city council is the least costly."

Jumping over the Measure DD Revenue and Expenditures in the proposed budget Clayton outline where the $10,640,000 will be spent. Code Enforcement would receive $338,725; Riverside County Sheriff in the last year of its contract would receive $3,573,072; Paramedics and Fire through Riverside County, Cal Fire and AMR would receive $3,361,677 and the Bradley Bridge project $250,000.

The available revenue balance from previous Measure DD funds of $1,655,174 would be spent on various pavement projects, $938,000; Sherman/Ethanac Reconstruction, $535,000, and the Goetz Road Asphalt overlay, $182,174.

The council, after hearing the report, seemed satisfied with the proposed budget, but they sought some assurances from City Manager Armando Villa that the new police department would be sustainable with the anticipated revenues after several years of operation. He assured them it will, citing the extra costs of establishing the department would be available after this years contract with the Sheriff's Department is completed and possible result in an overall cost saving.

He said he would be providing the council with some revenue and costs figures in the next few weeks.

Another question arose as to what would be a safe amount of reserve funding in the event a major disaster hits the city versus the city's current reserve fund of 25% of the general fund. Villa said most cities have 20% to 25% set aside for such emergencies with Menifee being in the higher range even though public safety experts believe every city should have a 100% reserve fund set aside for at least one year of operation.

Tony Ault photo

The Menifee City Council and Menifee City Manager Armando Villa, left, discuss the city's fiscal year 2019-2020 proposed budget in the city hall, Wednesday, May 15.

Currently, according to the report, the city has $15,230,195 set aside in its reserves meeting the city's reserve requirement of 25%. The City Hall also has a reserve fund of $250,000 and the Public Agency Risk Sharing Authority reserve of $75,000. Looking ahead to the end of this fiscal year, June 30, the plan is to have $22,892,647 in total reserves and increase of $7,337,452 in the city's attempt to eventually have 100% in reserves.

In its projected fund balances with all revenues and transfers in the city is projected to have a citywide balance of $91,707,126 in fiscal year 2019-2020. However, with projected expenditures and transfers out the city will have $111,307,458.

Before the budget meeting the council heard a report on the many capital improvement projects planned in the city in the fiscal year 2019-2020 year with the city's share of the cost estimated at $26,407,409. Capital improvement projects include everything from park restrooms to major highway overpasses, and $1.5 million is planned CIP for the new Menifee Police station.

Tony Ault may be emailed at [email protected]


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