Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - June 27, 2014

New city budget of $97.1 million showing steady gains

by Pleasanton Weekly staff

Pleasanton's municipal budget for fiscal year 2014-15, which goes into effect next Tuesday (July 1), shows a steady recovery in revenues since the peak years of 2007-08, but clearly the effects of the recent recession aren't over yet.

Originally adopted last June, the two-year budget was based on estimates of current financial conditions. The "mid-term" budget, as this second-year phase is known, calls for General Fund revenues of $97.1 million, a $2.6 million increase over fiscal year 2013-14 with property taxes coming in at $51.4 million, a $901,460 increase, and sales tax revenue rising $1.4 million to $21.7 million.

Looking at property taxes, the gain is mainly attributed to higher residential and commercial assessments, with homes selling at or above what they were priced at the height of the market in 2009. Higher sales taxes are the result of retail sales at Pleasanton Gateway Center and the Stoneridge Creek retirement community being added to the tax rolls.

Other increases in the coming year included $250,000 in hotel/motel taxes to a new total of $4.1 million, and a $100,000 increase in business license taxes to a new total of $3.7 million.

Not everything was better, however. Slower sales than expected at the Firehouse and Amador theaters have caused estimates to drop in the coming year by $157,000. On the expense side of the budget, the city is also projecting a $1.9 million increase in its projected expenditures of $95 million the coming fiscal year. Reserves remain steady in the new year at $13 million, including $9.7 million set aside if there's a return of economic uncertainties.

Although the 2014-15 budget is based on an economic recovery that has been slow, spotty and somewhat uncertain, it projects that Pleasanton will continue to keep and attract businesses and that our residential real estate market with its rising prices and property taxes will continue at a pace that's been faster than any other community in the Tri-Valley — the result of the city's continued quality of life, safe community and high-rated public schools features.

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