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Claremont remains on steady future financial course

A review of the city’s mid-year financial report indicates that Claremont is on course to stay within the 2014-15 budget adopted by city council last summer.

Financial Director Adam Pirrie delivered the news at Tuesday’s city council meeting where councilmembers allocated an additional $123,662 for items not included in the budget, including $80,000 for a car counting system for the Village West parking structure.

“I’m pleased to say at the midpoint of the fiscal year that revenues are generally on track to meet or exceed budgeted amounts, and expenditures are in line with where we would expect them to be at this point of the fiscal year,” said Mr. Pirrie.

In June 2014, the council adopted an operating and capital improvement budget for 2014-15 that included $46,716,659 in revenues and transfers from other funds. Subsequent amendments have been made to the budget to account for grant awards to fund equipment purchases and capital projects, bringing the total revenue budget for the city to $48,564,020.

As Mr. Pirrie explained, the total revenue budget is spread across a number of fund categories, representing more than 30 distinct funds used to account for a wide variety of programs and activities. The bulk of the revenue, $23,570,811, is in the general fund.

Through December 31, 2014, $16,559,221 in total revenues and transfers in had been received, representing 34 percent of the full-year budget, typical for this point in the fiscal year.

The adopted 2014-15 budget included $46,615,348 in expenditures and transfers out to other funds but was later amended to $53,121,675 with adjustments having been made for grant awards, capital projects, equipment replacements, cost of the potential water system acquisition, as well as the additional payment towards the unfunded liability on the city’s CalPERS retirement plan. As of December 31, 2014, $21,157,643 had been expended.

The general fund revenues and transfers in for 2014-15 were originally budget for $23,570,811 but were adjusted to $23,700,811 to reflect the addition of police grant awards. At December 31, 2014, $8,125,819 or 34 percent of the full-year budget had been received, which is typical at this point in time as most of the major sources of revenue are received in the latter part of the fiscal year.

Overall, general fund revenues are healthy, says Mr. Pirrie. Year-to-date figures suggest that the city is on track to meet or exceed its general fund revenue budget.

As of December 31, 2014, total expenditures and transfers out of the general fund amounted to $12,107,986 of the adjusted budget for the year. City spending so far amounts to 47 percent of annual projected spending. In other words, the city is generally on track to remain within budget this year.

Additionally, the midpoint of the fiscal year is the time city staff traditionally asks the council to make appropriations for items not included in the budget. This year was no different, with staff presenting six items for consideration and adoption.

City council approved the appropriation of $80,000 from the Proposition A Fund for the purchase and installation of a car counting system for the Village parking structure on First Street. Overhead cameras will be installed at each floor level to count cars and a sign in front of the structure will indicate the number of available spaces at each level.

City Manager Tony Ramos or his designee have been authorized to enter into an agreement for the purchase and installation of the system.

“This will aid in reducing the amount of unnecessary traffic in the structure due to the high demand for parking in the Village, particularly during weekend hours, “ explained Mr. Pirrie.

With little discussion, the council allocated funds as follows:

• $16,000 from the Equipment and Facility Revolving Reserve for the purchase of replacement umbrellas and patio furniture for the Public Plaza

• $16,109 from the Landscape and Lighting District Fund for emergency repairs at Higginbotham and Padua Avenue parks.

• $3,129 from the Landscape and Lighting District Fund for the replacement of copper wire stolen from a street light on Andrew Drive.

• $3,085 from the Landscape and Lighting District Fund for the repair of the Indian Hills Estates monument sign.

 • $5,342 from the Landscape and Lighting District Fund for the repair of a water line damaged by a city tree on Doane Avenue.

 

The Claremont City Council also awarded a $985,376.22 contract to Los Angeles Truck Center, LLC to replace three residential side-loader sanitation trucks.

Approximately $803,000 will be financed through the city’s sanitation fund, with the difference paid for through a $60,000 grant from Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC) and $122,530.51 in unallocated subvention funds.

The city’s sanitation fleet consists of 24 vehicles including eight residential trucks, four commercial trucks, three roll-off trucks and nine miscellaneous support vehicles. Vehicle replacements are scheduled every 10 years, with evaluations beginning when a piece of equipment reaches eight years of age. Two residential side-loaders were scheduled for replacement in 2013-14 but replacement was deferred until 2014-15

The new trucks will run on CNG (natural gas) fuel and, unlike previous CNG trucks utilized by the city, these CNG tanks will be mounted low on the truck body to lower the vehicles’ profiles and avoid conflict with city trees.

Mounting the tanks lower also improves maneuverability and lowers the trucks’ center of gravity, decreasing the risk of rollovers. The new trucks will also feature right-hand drive, providing the drivers with better visibility and safer access to containers in tight alleys.

Following the award of the contract, production time for the vehicles is estimated at five months. According to the MRSC grant, all vehicles must be in service by October 2015 to receive 100 percent of the awarded grant funds.

—Angela Bailey

news@claremont-courier.com

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