Thursday, June 7, 2007

Ojai City Budget Looking Brighter

By Nao Braverman
As the city approaches the end of its fiscal year, the revised budget for 2006-2007 is looking significantly better than expected. By the end of 2008, city staff expects to have a reserve balance of $2.3 million, almost two-thirds of the way to its emergency fund target of $3.55 million.
The past two years of careful budgeting and frugality — not to mention the dramatic increase in transient occupancy tax since the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa expansion was completed — have proved fruitful, steadily replenishing the surplus which fell from $4 million to a low of $9,000 several years ago, said city manager Jere Kersnar.
“We have had good progress and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he told council members at a special budget meeting on Tuesday.
City staff is recommending a $788,000 contribution to the previously depleted reserves at the end of this fiscal year, ending on June 30, up from the $618,000 estimate in February and the original $586,000 projection.
Despite $140,000 in uncollected transient occupancy tax, due to a dispute with a local inn, the city’s total revenues came out higher than ever before at $8.06 million.
The increase in revenue, was offset by a slight decrease in sales tax and largely attributed to profits from the newly renovated Ojai Valley Inn.
With expenses of $6.92 million at the end of this fiscal year, $250,000 less than predicted, the city had a surplus of about $1.14 million, much larger than the predicted sum.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

AS a candidate and to understand
further the inner workings of
Ojai finance, I began to ask budget questions that were answered partially or stonewalled
completely on development funds. The City could not find the $59K
supposed to be in the Bryant Circle mitigation fund, or did not know where the Bryant Street Mitigation fund money went. I also heard public discussion in chambers by officials about several millions missing from redevelopment. Oh well, they would float a public bond to make up the loss. PL