Danville Express

Newsfront - June 22, 2007

Town Council approves 2007-08 spending plan

by Geoff Gillette

After two months of planning and discussion, members of the Danville Town Council wasted little time in putting their stamp of approval on the town's $24.4 million fiscal year budget, at their meeting Tuesday evening.

"I'm very happy we have a balanced budget, 30 percent in reserve, and no tax increase," said Mayor Mike Shimansky.

Town Manager Joe Calabrigo laid out the background as part of the public hearing on the budget. Revenues coming into Danville are expected to total $29 million dollars in the fiscal year starting July 1, 2007, and ending June 30, 2008, said Calabrigo.

For the most part, the revenue streams are expected to stay fairly level. Staff reports show that General Purpose revenues will increase by around $500,000, due to some growth in property taxes, franchise fees and recreation fees. Other slight increases will be seen in Community Development Agency revenues, while Special Purpose revenues are forecast to decrease by around $800,000. The drop is due to timing on receipt of Proposition 42 street improvement funds and reduction in gas tax and building/planning revenues, according to staff reports.

Town expenditures will increase by 1.6 percent, significantly below the rate of inflation of 2.8 percent. Calabrigo said the relatively slight increase is for additional funds being allocated to Police Services, Recreational Services and Maintenance.

Those increases were offset by revenue savings caused by the town's departure from its old accounting software to the new MUNIS system. MUNIS is part of an Information Technology package brought into the town through a one-time expenditure of $324,000.

Other savings came from reducing contract plan checking in the Building Department as well as IT consultant costs.

"We had a half-time IT person leave, we hired a full-time person," said Calabrigo. "Increasing our staffing by a half person let us cut back on our contract expenditures."

Calabrigo pointed out that Danville's service level will remain the same while still dramatically under-spending other Tri-Valley municipalities. Danville's $24 million expenditure plan is far less than that of San Ramon, which will spend $78 million, or Dublin at $53 million.

"The cost of providing services in Danville is half of some cities, a quarter of cities if you look further to the north and south," said Councilman Newell Arnerich.

Public comment was limited to one short speech by resident Ralph Hoffman, who praised the efforts of staff and council members in putting together a good budget.

Council members spoke well of both the staff and the plan itself. Councilwoman Candace Andersen pointed to the percentage of town revenues going into the Reserve Fund.

"We have that money set aside so if a really terrific project comes along we've got the money to pay for it," Andersen said.

After a few other brief remarks, the council voted unanimously to approve the budget.

Afterward, Calabrigo said using technology like MUNIS and having an ongoing dialogue with the council makes it possible to provide quality services while keeping spending down.

"There's always ways to spend more money," he said. "But we take a lot of pride in providing the best level of service we can with the funds we have."


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