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Manager stresses caution in 2011

Town's expenses outgaining revenue is 'not sustainable'
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Fiscal caution is advised as the Loomis Town Council begins the budgeting process for the up-coming fiscal year, according to Perry Beck, town manager. In a report created by Beck that he presented at the January council meeting, and recently updated, Beck said that over the past decade, town expenses increased by 55 percent while revenue only increased by 24 percent. Beck said those numbers are “not sustainable.” According to the state department of finance, economic indicators show that for the first six months of 2010 unemployment statewide has hovered at just over 12 percent. The median price of a new home has risen and the office vacancy rate in the Sacramento area for the first quarter of 2010 has risen to 13 percent. James Cave is an Edward Jones financial advisor with an office on Horseshoe Bar Road. His company has taken a more optimistic view of the economy. Cave said his company’s outlook for 2011 is that “the economy should continue on a slowly improving path, although high unem-ployment and weak housing are likely to remain headwinds.” The 55 percent increase in Loomis expenses represents a huge climb in county-provided services, including an almost 400 percent increase in fees for animal control provided by Placer County Animal Services and a 119 percent increase in fees charged by the Placer County Sheriff’s De-partment. In 2002, animal control expenses were $17, 606 and are currently budgeted at $84,000. Sheriff expenses were $568,256 in 2000 and are now budgeted at $1.3 million; included in that fee is a designated traffic officer for Loomis. The traffic officer position is funded by a state grant of $100,000, plus an additional $70,794 paid for by the town. Prior to adding a traffic safety officer, revenue from traffic fines was at $17,349. The highest amount of traffic fine revenue was nearly $35,000 in 2008-2009, which corresponded to a 74 percent decline in injury auto accidents in 2008. The traffic fine revenue for the current fiscal year is estimated at $15,000. Beck said that generally, fees for county-provided services automatically increase by 10 percent each year, but last year the sheriff’s department did not ask for any additional money and provided the same level of service. In 2001, town revenue from areas such as sales and property taxes was approximately $2.3 mil-lion and expenses were $1.8 million. For the current fiscal year, revenue and expenses are esti-mated to be $2.8 million. Beck said the town currently has $3.9 million set aside in reserves. “The Loomis story is not much different from other agencies except in one thing, no debt. That is a big plus, but doesn’t eliminate the need for fiscal caution going forward,” Beck wrote in his report. Beck said the economy took a turn for the worse that first showed up in the 2006-2007 fiscal year. Beck said, “Revenue began a four-year decline of two percent, eight percent, 13 percent and seven percent” for the current fiscal year. Roger Carroll, town finance director, said the revenue figure for the current fiscal year, which began on July 1, 2010 and ends on June 30, 2011, is actually coming in higher than originally projected. "We projected a total amount for the year at $464,00, but we are already at $360,000 and we’re just over half way through the fiscal year," Carroll said. "We could come in nearly $150,000 over projections," he said. Carroll said the largest sales tax generators for the town have typically been Homewood Lumber, Raley's, the Shell service station on Taylor Road, and Doupnik Manufacturing. The town council will begin the budget process for the upcoming fiscal year at their next regu-larly scheduled meeting on Feb. 8.