The San Anselmo Town Council approved a final 2011-12 budget Tuesday night, with just $12,500 deficit.
“It’s almost a balance budget,” said Finance Director Daria Carrillo.
San Anselmo had a $255,000 budget deficit in its preliminary July budget, similar to the much larger deficit Fairfax initially expected in its July preliminary budget as well. But, employee concessions combined with unexpected increases in state funding allowed San Anselmo to close its deficit.
Employee groups, including cops, fire and management groups, agreed to pay three percent of the employee pension costs, saving San Anselmo $180,000, said Carrillo. And, the state also reinstated $100,000 in COPS funding, but will not be paying out vehicle licensing fees to towns.
Though San Anselmo approved a relatively stable budget compared to many other Marin cities, that doesn’t mean the town isn’t cutting costs and scraping by.
Fire Chief Roger Meagor explained that the , which is governed by a fire board, has relied heavily on its reserve funding and cut costs considerably in order to keep the fees San Anselmo, Fairfax and Sleepy Hollow pay the same for the last three years, but that won’t last forever.
“At some point, contributions need to increase to cover costs,” said Meagor.
Additionally, the San Anselmo budget includes no salary increases for any town staff. And while the money remains in the budget for street resurfacing work, the hope is that grant funding helps with a number of capital projects around town, such as the sidewalk and Safe Routes to School work finishing up by right now – although grant funding too is drying up said Town Manager Debbie Stutsman.
Town staff and council members continued to look for cost-cutting measures while examining the budget at the San Anselmo Town Council meeting Tuesday night, Sept. 13, including looking at ways to increase revenue at A number of expensive fixes need to be made, but can not be afforded, at the historic house.
Carrillo and Stutsman also confirmed that the town is still hoping for nearly $600,000 in FEMA payments from the 2005 flood, but that the claim for that money has been swallowed into a FEMA black hole.
“We actually learned it is lost,” said Stutsman, explaining it was assigned to a caseworker at FEMA and appears to be sitting on a desk at the federal agency, but no one can tell the town consultant which desk or which person to talk to.
What do you think of the town budget? How else could the town save money?