http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2009/02/27/town-council-strategizes-over-declining-revenues


DanvilleSanRamon.com

Newsfront - February 27, 2009

Town council strategizes over declining revenues

Staff to work on ways of reducing costs

by Geoff Gillette

The economic spiral affecting the county, state and federal governments is also being felt in Danville, as revenue numbers in the town are falling below projected levels.

At their Feb. 17 meeting and again at their annual workshop Monday, members of the Town Council discussed the decline in revenues and how the town will respond to the dwindling funds.

Town Manager Joe Calabrigo presented the report, saying that they are seeing across the board decreases in several areas resulting in a shortfall of $399,028 in general fund revenues from where they expected to be at the mid-year point. The decreases affect nearly every revenue source, from a flattening of property tax money to a 20 percent drop in development revenues.

Calabrigo said the shortage is not a great cause for concern because of the way the town does business.

"Our town is doing very well because we budget conservatively," he explained. "Our council uses a rather unique system for budgeting."

The Town of Danville puts revenue into two separate funds. The Operating Fund is used for the day-to-day running of the town. The Capital Fund is utilized for infrastructure improvements, projects and facilities work.

"At the start of the year we look at how much goes into Operating and how much goes into Capital," Calabrigo said. "At the end of the year, if there is money left over in the Operating Fund it gets transferred over to the Capital Fund."

"The plan in Danville has never been to aggressively forecast and then spend every dollar," he added.

In order to deal with the expected shortfall, the Town Council has directed staff to work on reducing general fund operating expenditures below 2008-09 levels; reduce general fund transfers to the capital improvement fund for the current fiscal year; and use contingency or reserve funds set aside by the council to offset any shortfalls.

Calabrigo said that this year he does not expect to need the reserve funds, as they will be closely examining expenditures to see where they can trim back.

Next year could be another story.

"As we look ahead we're looking at revenues being $2.2 million less than when we did the forecast last year," he stated.

Mayor Newell Arnerich said he is confident that Danville will weather the economic storm and he is continuing to push for residents to work with local businesses and services to help keep the downtown viable.

In addition, he said the town is taking steps to help out as well. Staff members have been at work over the past several weeks on a Danville Economic Stimulus Package that he said he hopes will provide some needed assistance.

No details are available currently regarding the stimulus effort and how it will work. Arnerich and the Town Council will unveil the plan at their March 3 meeting, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Town Meeting Hall, 201 Front St.

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