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Benicia’s Finances Shaky Again

Property taxes and utility taxes are down and the Marina Fund continues to pull money from the General fund.

Unforeseen tax revenue shortfalls and a structural deficit in the Marina Fund could mean Benicia will dip into its reserves before the end of the fiscal year.

The shortfall is due to an $800,000 drop in property tax revenues.  According to a staff report those revised estimates were based on decreases in assessed valuation certified by the Solano County Assessor at the end of June.  What is unclear is why the information wasn’t communicated to cities throughout the county while they were building their fiscal year 2012/2013 budgets.

The Vallejo Times-Herald reports City Manager Brad Kilger has instituted a hiring freeze that will result in an immediate $165,000 saving.

The User Utility Tax revenue drop can be traced back to the deal the city has with Valero.  The User Utility Tax is a percentage of each user’s utility bill so the higher your bill, the higher the tax you pay.  Valero’s tax is based on a running five-year average and as the years of the California energy crisis and their high cost of energy fall out of the running average the tax owed by Valero goes down.

In order to begin to effectively respond to this decrease in revenues, the City Manager is planning a special meeting in January to develop a strategic plan of action to eliminate the structural deficit.

Adding to the budget pain is a $593,000 deficit in the trasit fund that needs to be cleared before the fund can be closed and a $197,000 deficit in the Marina Enterprise Fund.  If the council decides to deal with these added shortfalls, the total  will be $1.8 million.  The fix could include using funds from the reserve, mid-year budget cuts or a combination of the two.

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If there’s something in this article you think should be corrected, or if something else is amiss, call editor JB Davis at 707-628-0051 or email him at benicia@patch.com.

Joe Feltcher November 17, 2012 at 12:53 AM
Well, it's a good thing we have plenty of money for all these solar projects and to pay an 'environmental adviser'. This mayor is a joke. Too bad you lemmings are finding it out after the election...
"The Black Panther of Poetry" November 17, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Which is better, us lemmings or "yall" lemurs? www.youtube.com/watch?v=43WCwGeKsqc
Richard Bortolazzo November 18, 2012 at 02:32 PM
No serious economic growth for years, a World War II vintage industrial park, and declining residential assessed values. Gee, what a surprise.
Robert Livesay November 18, 2012 at 02:49 PM
How is a freeze a savings? Money has not been spent yet.. It is not a savings it is a reduction in the present budget expenditures. Not on the payroll, no savings. A savings may be an immediate reduction in salary, benefits and reduction in staff. That is a savings.
Robert Livesay November 18, 2012 at 04:27 PM
The big issue facing the city is not this present revenue reduction. It is Valero. What if Valero becomes a tank farm? Storing product from their other refineries and then shipping it out. Could be a huge problem in the near future . This city must develope the Seeno property and improve the Industrial Park for their future revenue protection.
Nick P November 19, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Thanks again for re-electing Patterson.
Babaloo November 19, 2012 at 05:17 AM
So.."A savings may be an immediate reduction in salary, benefits and reduction in staff.".....IS NOT a savings. this will actually increase costs for many years to come. This is the first things companies do, temporarily, this looks good on the books. then "things don't get done" and things pile up. becomes a black hole so to speak. inefficient. ineffective. AND then we need to replace those who "left" creating further training costs, ineffective staff until they "get the hang of things". so your reasoning is poorly thought out.
Babaloo November 19, 2012 at 05:34 AM
this was a wonderful decision. NOT...a big big mistake . this city is in the "the good old boy network". sadly they are taking us into the dark ages. literally. they do not KNOW about fiscal management. they are not aware of " what to do " with this city. they have turned down the blue and gold fleet, they have turned down opportunities to expand and grow this cities financial position. they can't even pass a bond measure for "OUR SCHOOLS". So ? where will this city be in 10 years ? The new Vallejo ? We now have great places to get a massage, many open store fronts with NO FUTURE businesses to replace what has been lost. The are going to "Meet with Weingarten" to take a more active role in running their business ? really ? are you kidding me ? keep dreaming. I moved my business from Benicia to a more friendly town. Shall we say THRIVE ? yes we can,,,But NOT until we dispose of the mess we have running this town.
"The Black Panther of Poetry" November 19, 2012 at 07:00 AM
Oh Yeah Babbaloo and I am willing to bet that you have African-American customers but I will also bet you don't have any African-American employees!!! What's wrong with that picture!!! They are good enough to give you their money but not good enough for you to give a job too!!! The City of Benicia will be just fine, just remember it was you republicans' that put everyone behind the EIGHT BALL!!! Go President Obama...Go Mayor Patterson!!!
"The Black Panther of Poetry" November 20, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Oh and one more thing Babbaling Babbaloo!!! Happy Black Friday!!!
Babaloo December 27, 2012 at 05:20 AM
You are a "RACIST". our business thrives in the east bay and we have expanded over the last 5 years. we provide good service and we have many customers from all over the world. i do not know the "color" or "colors" of our employees. since i am "blind". i feel nothing but pitty on a man who claims to be a "man" when he is NOT.
Robert Livesay December 27, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Explain why Nick P. I would like to know why. I hope you will tell us all what maybe we do not know.

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