Colton City Council acknowledges budget issues beyond 2022

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Colton City Council and city staff working together to bring forward revenue enhancement strategies for the 2022 and 2023 fiscal year on May 17th.

At the Tuesday Colton City Council meeting, the council approved the fiscal year budget for the fiscal year 2022 to 2023 as part of the consent calendar. 

The projected end-of-year costs for the city are expected to be $52,283,333, which is slightly higher than the expected revenue of $51,560,715.  In order to meet its financial needs for the year, the budget includes the city pulling $677,618 from its general fund. 

Regarding the current budget-balancing strategies, Colton City Manager, Bill Smith said, “To be clear, the proposed operating budget-balancing strategies to address the city’s continued fiscal challenges, following an extremely difficult year are neither recommended nor sustainable for the fiscal health of Colton in the long term.”

The city points to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic for its financial shortcomings. 

“The proposed budget reflects our current fiscal reality as a result of the ongoing, extended pandemic, related economic challenges and continued resource limitations,” said Smith.

As part of its report, the city also included some of its near-term financial challenges which include, inflation and supply chain distribution, staffing challenges, pensions costs and homelessness. 

The city points to supply chains as a reason it can’t provide services, while the city’s struggle with staffing stems from its inability to provide competitive compensation.

The city claims pension increases are squeezing its ability to maintain services while staying within its resources. As for homelessness, the city didn’t exactly point to how it affected the city financially, but did point to its current funding for cleanup in the budget. 

Along with these near-term issues, the city also forecasted the longer-term challenges it faces. The two longer-term issues the city faces are sustainable pension and healthcare and transportation funding. 

While this year’s budget may get the city through to next year, the city’s financial future is in flux. 

“Beyond Fiscal Year 2022-23, like other cities across California, the city of Colton faces long-term costs such as unfunded liabilities related to pension and retiree healthcare, infrastructure needs and a limited ability to control costs within the current service delivery model,” Smith said. 

With a focus on addressing these challenges, Smith said, “Staff continues to work with the finance committee and city council to bring forward potential revenue enhancement strategies, cost-saving strategies and long-range strategic financial planning strategies to ensure the preservation of general city services for our valued community and long-term fiscal health of the city’s general fund.”