Despite a slowdown in development and the loss of a great deal of development-related revenue, the city of Hesperia plans to pave 57 miles of road in the coming fiscal year, including work on the city's major arterial roads.

The city council -- minus Councilman Tad Honeycutt -- got a sneak preview of the proposed $228 million fiscal year 2007-2008 budget at a budget workshop held Wednesday night at Hesperia City Hall.

The 57 miles of paving are equal to last year's new paving, but the price tag isn't comparable: Next year's paving will cost $20 million as compared to last year's $11 million.

"The arterial streets are typically three to four to five times wider," Brian Johnson, the city's director of management services, said Thursday. "A really good example is Main Street from I to Rock Springs road is probably 125 feet wide. It'll be a complete grind and ... then a complete overlay. Arterial streets are much more expensive to do."

In addition to the planned $20 million in paving, the city will be spending an additional $36 million on other streets-related projects, including the long-awaited Ranchero Road Underpass.

"We expect [the Ranchero Road Underpass] to be under construction, knock wood," Scott Priester, the city's director of development services, said at the workshop Wednesday. "It's about at guaranteed as it can be when you're dealing with [the California Department of Transportation]."

The city will also be spending money on a new traffic signal at Main Street and Rock Springs Road, widening Seventh Avenue, a study on how to improve the Main Street and Hesperia Road interchange, a study of the feasibility of a new railroad crossing at Eucalyptus, Lemon or Mojave and more projects.

The city will also be hiring an additional six San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department deputies and three additional department staffers. The new hires bring the city's total new hires of additional deputies up to 15 over a three-year period. The city will also be replacing two aging San Bernardino County Fire Department fire engines and two ambulances.

Johnson and his staff are taking a conservative economic outlook on the next year, and are expecting the development goose to lay fewer golden eggs during the next fiscal year. In the 2006-2007 budget, city staff expected to see 1,000 new single family housing permits issued. In the end, the city only issued 750 during the current fiscal year. In the coming fiscal year, they expect to see only 600 new single-family housing permits issued. In contrast, at the development peak in 2005-2006, the city issued 1,645 single-family housing permits.

"We're expecting it to be a while before things turn around," Johnson said Thursday.

But the slowdown in development hasn't meant a parallel slowdown in development-related revenue. In 2005-2006, the city brought in $6,514,336 in development-related revenue. In the next fiscal year, the city expects to bring in $3,454,480, or 53 percent of the revenue despite only having 36 percent of the new single family housing permits.

Johnson said the city has restructured how it uses development-related revenue to keep the funds flowing during the lean times.

"We're using redevelopment money much more," he said. "We're also using development impact fees" differently.

And during the lean times, the city is planning on sticking even more of its income into savings. The city council's policy is for the city government to maintain a 10 percent cash reserve for the general fund, fire district and water district. Next fiscal year, those reserves should grow to 35 percent, 18 percent and 22 percent respectively.

"It's safe to say when there's a time to have heavy-duty reserves around, it's when there's so much uncertainty around," Johnson said. The growth comes despite the city dipping into its reserves for one-time spending projects in the coming fiscal year.

Despite the slowdown, Johnson said the city is still in good shape in the coming fiscal year.

"We're still in a pretty good place."

The fiscal year 2007-2008 budget will be voted on at the Wednesday, June 20 meeting of the Hesperia City Council, which begins at 6 p.m. at Hesperia City Hall.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.