Community input sought to help stabilize General Fund budget
Roseville, Calif. – At its April 19 meeting, the Roseville City Council approved an effort called “Engage Roseville: A Community Conversation about Priorities.”
Extending through Spring 2018, the effort will involve residents, businesses, and others who have a stake in Roseville’s quality of life, in prioritizing city services and looking at options to match services levels with revenues. A key component will be the Community Priorities Advisory Committee. Applications to serve on the committee are being accepted through May 19, 2017.
Why do we need to do this now?
During the recession and as the economy began to recover, Roseville’s fiscal management allowed the City to maintain quality-of-life services while minimizing cuts. We reduced staffing, implemented pension reforms, cut hours at city facilities and cut community events to maintain a balanced budget and levels of service. We also deferred funding for things like maintenance of our streets and public facilities.
In the time since, we’ve conducted audits to ensure our staffing levels and structure brought the greatest efficiency and effectiveness. In fact, in the same period that our population has increased and services have expanded, staffing levels have decreased.
The City and our bargaining groups have partnered to slow payroll growth, reduce post-retirement benefits, and reduce salaries. All the while, a constantly changing legislative and regulatory environment continues to add unfunded mandates and significant costs to the City’s operations. A recent example being when the State moved responsibility for stormwater management from the State to local government, adding an annual, unreimbursed expense of $1 million to the General Fund.
These realities, in addition to a slowing and shifting economy, have led to a budget gap that will continue to widen in the years ahead.
How does the budget look today?
We achieved a break-even budget in FY 2016-17, where operational expenses matched operational revenues. While the City’s fiscal position has been improving, costs are growing faster than revenues. In addition, we have deferred maintenance costs and other long-term liabilities that are coming due.
If the City were to maintain its current levels of service while also fully funding its long-term liabilities and deferred maintenance, the General Fund budget would realize a $10 million structural deficit per year, resulting in a fiscally unsustainable position moving forward.
How are we going to tackle the budget gap?
In response to this fiscal reality, the Council directed staff at its annual goals workshop to initiate a process involving the community aimed at evaluating the City’s general fund operations and revenues.
The goal is to find a way to balance the City’s obligation to maintain fiscal stability while continuing to provide high-quality essential services and addressing long-term liabilities. The Council approved this process, called Engage Roseville at its April 19 City Council meeting.
What are some of the City’s quality-of-life goals?
- Maintaining fire protection services and 9-1-1 emergency and medical response times;
- Maintaining police crime suppression and investigation units;
- Preventing and investigating property-related crimes like theft and burglary; and,
- Maintaining the number of police officers on neighborhood patrols.
- Streets and roads:
- Maintaining city infrastructure such as storm drains, bridges, and facilities; and,
- Maintaining city streets, roads and repairing potholes.
- Parks, Recreation, and Libraries:
- Maintaining city parks, recreation facilities, trees, and landscape corridors;
- Maintaining community centers, aquatic facilities, and event programming; and,
- Maintaining library services and ensuring public access.
- Local economy and jobs creation:
- Maintaining programs to improve the local economy and job creation; and,
- Attracting and retaining local businesses.
How can I get involved?
Extensive community participation will help ensure the City has a clear understanding of community priorities, the community has a clear understanding of fiscal constraints and opportunities, and recommendations can be developed to align resources accordingly.
Several options to engage this effort exist:
Community Priorities Advisory Committee
The Roseville City Council approved formation of a Community Priorities Advisory Committee (CPAC) as one of several comprehensive activities to ensure direct and meaningful community participation in reviewing levels of City-provided services.
The committee process is intended to bring together Roseville residents and businesses to assess specific general fund City services and programs, and provide policy-level recommendations to prioritize what we value as a community.
- Details about the committee and applications to be considered by the City Council for appointment to this committee of 15-20 community members
- Applications are due May 19, 2017. Council appointments will be made at a special City Council meeting 7 p.m., Monday, June 12, 2017, in Council Chambers at 311 Vernon St., Roseville.
- The committee will meet at 6-8 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month from July 2017 through March 2018. The location will vary and will be noted on the website.
- Meetings are open to the public and will be videotaped and available for viewing on the City’s government-access channel COR-TV (Comcast 14 and Consolidated 73) and on the City’s website.
- Public-Engagement Plan
- To obtain broad public input, the City is developing a public-engagement plan with the following goals:
- Gather additional, broad feedback about quality of life services important to the community;
- Continue to responsibly inform residents about the City’s budget, fiscal situation and needs, including revenues, expenses and challenges;
- Provide important information to City Council and City staff about the kind of community people want to live in and which services they value;
- Highlight the trade-offs associated with allocating limited resources; and,
- Support continued transparency of the City’s decision-making process and maintain the City’s tradition and practice of community collaboration and trust.
- Strategies to engaging the wider community in this discussion of community priorities to obtain broad public input could include: online town halls, social media, surveys, public forums, community events, and community-based meetings involving presentations, exercises, opinion research, and a concentrated focus on two-way communication.
All of these elements will be considered in development of the public engagement plan. As always, the City will continue its emphasis of partnering with local media to keep people informed as well.