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E.C. budget with current revenue, expenditure rates to be released to council on Wednesday

July 31, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

A two-year budget reflecting the current rate of revenues and expenditures will be provided for comment to the El Centro City Council on Wednesday.

The budget does not include any additional expenditures for capital improvements or additional personnel, according to City Manager Abdel Salem.

"The budget is basically to continue the status quo," Salem said, adding that any changes will be discussed at a third public workshop, the date of which will be set at Wednesday's council meeting.

The City Council meets in open session at 6:30 p.m. at 1275 Main St.

The proposed budgets for 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 show total expenditures equal to revenues. For 2001-02 revenues and expenditures are estimated at $42.68 million, while for 2002-03 they are estimated at $48.4 million.

Meanwhile, for fiscal 2001-02, the city's general fund is expecting revenues of $13 million with expenditures of $15.3 million. For fiscal 2002-03 the general fund's revenues are estimated at $13.26 million and expenditures at $15.9 million.


The general fund is described as that fund used to account for resources traditionally associated with government that are not required legally or by sound financial management to be accounted for in another fund.

To preclude such deficits, the City Council and city staff have discussed the potential for increasing revenues. Two ideas that would result in higher sewer and water fees to users include charging for water and sewer rights of way, which could add $350,000 to the city's budget, and charging the water and sewer department for fire hydrant flushing, which could add $100,000.

Three revenue enhancing ideas that require a two-thirds majority vote in the city include an increase in property taxes, which could raise $8-10 million; a utility tax measure to fund police and fire protection, which could raise $2 million, and an increase of 1 percent in the local sales tax, which could add $3 million but requires a countywide election.

Other ideas include an increase in hotel taxes from 10 to 11 percent, which could add $60,000-$70,000 to the current $850,000, and the creation of a so-called Mello-Roos financing district in all new developments such as three housing projects recently approved for the west side of the city.

In other business, the council:

· will consider submitting a grant application to the Imperial Irrigation District for a $200,000 photovoltaic system to use solar power to supply some of the energy needs of City Hall. The city expects to save $3,756 yearly on energy costs by using the system.

· will consider appropriating $16,800 as its share of a fiber optic telecommunications system joint powers authority with the Imperial County Office of Education, IID and the county.

· will consider paying $145,000 yearly for two years to the El Centro Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau to be the city's visitors bureau.

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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