HESPERIA — The city continues to head in the right financial direction, with an increase in development projects and revenue leading the way, according to officials.
Hesperia Assistant City Manager Brian Johnson told the City Council on Tuesday night that the amended fiscal year 2016-17 mid-year budget for Hesperia was "probably the most optimistic" the city has ever seen.
Before receiving and filing the budget report, the Council discovered Hesperia had collected $24.8 million in revenue, which is 8.1 percent, or $2 million, more than the same time period last year.
The budget included numbers from the city, the Community Development Commission, Hesperia Fire Protection District and Hesperia Water District.
Expenditures were 39 percent complete through December, with multiple capital improvement project funds such as water capital and fire capital that have minimal expenditures through the second quarter.
Based on the revised methodology, the General Fund and Hesperia Water District exceeded the Council's policy of 10 percent cash reserves. The Fire District is projected to have a cash reserve balance of only 2 percent by June 30. With a total budget of nearly $11 million, the Fire District has expended 52 percent of its operating budget.
At just over $16 million, the Sheriff's Department budget is currently 55 percent expended due to paying for seven months of service, which included the months of July through January. The amended budget includes the approved first quarter amendment to cover increased contract costs from the collective bargaining process. The Sheriff's Department contract accounts for nearly 54 percent of the General Fund.
"When it comes to the sheriff's contract, it all comes down to managing our expenses and planning in advance," Mayor Paul Russ told the Daily Press. "Revenue goes up and down depending on the economy. But smart planning by our staff and Council allows us to spend the right amount on fire, police and streets without going too far out on the plank."
The budget included 11 proposed amendments with a total price tag of $391,340, which covers a quarter of the total for contract plan review services for building and safety.
An influx of plans and development projects under new development codes toward the end of December increased staff workload, the report said.
The city had 109 single-family residential building permits and 56,526 square feet of commercial development through Dec. 31, with 50 permits and 18,800 square feet of commercial development during the same period the year before.
Additional plan check review services are needed to ensure the city meets its goal of two-week reviews, which will allow staff to continue the "Plan Review Hours" program, where the general public can seek advice from a plans examiner for up to an hour in either the morning or afternoon, staff said.
Other budget amendments include two part-time building maintenance positions, software upgrades, fund transfers to the Community Development Commission, a retail site study, water plant roof maintenance, several street maintenance repairs and improvements to Fire Station 302.
Located on the corner of H Avenue and Olive Street, the fire station will receive $15,000 in security improvements, which will include a redesigned lobby, security cameras and doors with electric locks. An additional $8,000 will be spent for a motorized gate.
The part-time positions include a part-time facility electrician, with a starting step hourly rate of $29.69 and cap of $36.20. The second position would be a part-time facility maintenance technician with a starting step rate hourly rate of $25.65 and cap of $31.26.
To view the full budget report, visit www.cityofhesperia.us.
Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227, RDeLa Cruz@VVDailyPress.com or on Twitter@DP_ReneDeLaCruz.