|RP puts forth much rosier budget than last year
About the best thing you could say is Rohnert Park’s 2012-13 budget is an improvement over last year’s budget. The $55 million figure includes the General Fund and all of the city’s Enterprise funds.
It comes equipped with a $2.5 million deficit, but city council members can recall three years ago (2009-10) when the city was burdened with a nearly $10 million deficit. The sales tax initiative, Measure M on the 2010 ballot, helped out a lot, but the main reason the deficit is lower is the extreme lengths city departments and personnel went into a major belt-tightening mode to slash their own budgets.
In the past, the city was able to sell acreage it bought from the Waldo Rohnert Seed farm more than 50 years ago. As Sonoma County grew, city property values soared and developers had to pay dearly for land. But early investors such as Hugh Codding, Art Condiotti, Jimmie Rogers and others produced many amenities like donating land for church properties, Red Lion Inn (now the Doubletree Hotel), Senior Center, the Community Center complex, North golf course at Foxtail and most of the residential projects from A to R sections. Those are just a few samples.
No discussions were focused on the continuing problem of paying pensions and health benefits to retirees. They’ll probably come up later this year when mid-term talks on the budget are on the agenda. Neither did anyone mention the Graton Tribe casino. We’ll probably have to wait for the 2013-14 budget for the council to figure out the impacts.
In his report to the council, City Manager Gabe Gonzalez said, “The long term goal is to create a sustainable balanced budget in which revenues are sufficient to pay expenses and we have a budget surplus to fund liabilities and infrastructure needs.
“I believe if we stay the course and work together – city council, employees and the community – we can achieve our goals.”