Pleasanton Weekly

News - November 29, 2013

City revenue beats expectation in 2012-13 fiscal year

Golf course bonds paid, leaving Pleasanton 'construction debt free'

by Jeb Bing

The city of Pleasanton ended fiscal year 2012-13 more than $1 million over its projected municipal operating budget as sales and hotel taxes edged their way back from recession-year lows, the city's finance director Emily Wagner reported.

The actual budget for the year which ended last June 30 totaled $92.3 million, well above the $91.2 million the city had projected.

The projected operating budget for the current fiscal year, which started July 1, totals $94.5.

Although property tax revenue at $48.6 million was off by $116,000 from projections, slightly higher sales tax revenue of $19.1 million during the fiscal year along with increases in the business license and hotel taxes accounted for the gains.

Actual expenditures were $690,000 less than budgeted as city management kept purchases and hiring to a minimum, Wagner said.

Property tax revenue, the single largest revenue source for the city, accounting for approximately 53% of total revenues, fell slightly, but is projected to recover significantly in the current fiscal year because of increased housing sales.

Sales tax revenue is the second largest revenue source for the General Fund, accounting for about 21% of the total. They were up $102,977, or .5%, for the year and also are expected to increase this year.

Municipal reserves held steady during the year at $25.3 million.

Last month, Wagner used part of the budget surplus to pay off outstanding bonds used to finance the Callippe Preserve Golf Course, totaling $879,049. The City Council also agreed to increase a 10% budget reserve for economic uncertainties to 13% and to allocate another $1 million to the CalPERS stabilization fund to reduce the city's unfunded pension liability.

Wagner said that while operating revenues at Callippe were less than budgeted during the year by $131,500, expenses were down even further by $281,078. She said 56,104 rounds of golf were played in the 2012-13 fiscal year, down from 58,272 rounds played in the previous fiscal year.

In his "State of the City" address earlier this year, Mayor Jerry Thorne said that 2013 is turning out to be better in terms of municipal revenue, new businesses, retail expansion and housing gains than last year, and "everything is just getting better."

He said Pleasanton's economy has rebounded from the recent recession. The combined assessed value of the city's commercial and residential properties was just over $12 billion in 2012, resulting in property tax revenues coming in at higher than projected in fiscal 2012-13.

Building permit revenues are up 24% from last year and plan check revenues up 75%. Most of the activity is from the ongoing construction of the Stoneridge Creek retirement community on Staples Ranch and Pleasanton Gateway Plaza, as well as Clorox's relocation to Pleasanton and the Safeway Corporate expansion at the former Farmers Insurance Building off Dublin Canyon Boulevard.

"Pleasanton is in great financial shape, a position envied by communities around the Bay," Thorne said. "Our conservative fiscal policies and comprehensive budgeting approach enable Pleasanton to deliver the high quality of services our residents deserve."

Thorne said the city has an AA rating by Standard and Poor's with assets exceeding liabilities as of last June 30 by $872.4 million.

With the payoff last month of the golf course bonds, the city is construction debt-free.

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