Loomis doing fine weathering financial storm

Town's fiscal restraint and lower staff salaries key to surviving tough economy
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Despite the depressed economy, the Town of Loomis is financially holding its own. Roger Caroll, finance director, said the town is fiscally conservative and is careful about spending. These habits, he said, have put the town in a position to weather the current financial storms. The town’s annual budget is $3.3 million, and staff salaries are noticeably lower than those of surrounding cities, especially the manager salary. Loomis pays its town manager $116,875, which is almost half of the salary paid to Rocklin’s city manager before he retired: $226,000. Carroll’s projections for the next fiscal year, which begins on July 1, are for a continuation of a tough economy. “Revenue will be down. We won’t be able to fund any special projects or extra things,” Carroll said. Carroll said he isn’t anticipating any further cuts from the state. “They hit cities pretty hard last year. This year they’re cutting the schools,” he said. Carroll expressed frustration at the state’s raiding of city funds. “It’s not that the money isn’t there. Our money flows through the state and then they decide to keep it to balance their own budget,” Carroll explained. Jennifer Heisleman, of Loomis, said she doesn’t know enough about the financial management of the town to comment on it, but she said she does know about the quality of life in the small town. Heisleman said she grew up in Loomis and returned here as an adult to live. “I loved growing up here in a small town and things haven’t changed that much,” she said. “They’re doing a good job of keeping the town small.” Joe Bailey, also a Loomis resident, thinks the town is doing a good job of keeping Loomis small and managing the budget. “They’ve been able to take advantage of matching grants, they’ve offered small business loans and they have fun events,” Bailey said. “I would think those things represent good financial management,” he said. Business owners seemed to be satisfied with the town’s handling of its budget, but some expressed concerns. “I don’t feel comfortable with some of the big city things they’re trying to impose on us,” said attorney Frank Rowley. Kathy Lee, owner of M & D Beauty Boutique and Salon, said she feels the town is lax on maintenance. “They don’t maintain the trees on this side of Walnut,” Lee said of her location on Taylor Road. “The town goes down another block,” she said. --------------------- CITY BUDGET COMPARISON Population - Loomis: 6,260 Auburn: 13,432 Rocklin: 53,000 Operating budget - Loomis: $3,344,167 Auburn: $8,443,737 Rocklin: $57,131,073 City manager salary - Loomis: $116,875 Auburn: $134,222 Rocklin: $226,000 City engineer salary - Loomis $110,205 Auburn: $159,120 Rocklin: $105,468-$134,604 Planning director salary - Loomis: $99,127 Auburn: $124,197 Rocklin: $105,468-$134,604 Finance director salary - Loomis: $96,749 Auburn: $124,072 Rocklin: $97,920-$124,992 City clerk salary - Loomis: $64,122 Auburn: $50,752 Rocklin: $74,640-$95,244 Sources: City of Loomis, Auburn, Rocklin finance departments