Redlands Find Unexpected money

City manager finds extra funds

Posted: 01/11/2012 03:52:31 PM PST


REDLANDS – Sometimes it pays to check under the sofa cushions for hidden change. In the case of the city of Redlands, it paid for City Manager Enrique Martinez to check city departments for excess funds, to the tune of about $1.6 million.Martinez explained Wednesday that an auditor’s report of the 2010-11 fiscal year agreed with staff’s findings of more revenues than expenditures for the year. The difference was an extra $1,650,993 for the city’s general fund.

“We want taxpayers to know we’re trying to save every nickel and dime,” Martinez said.

An overview of the report found about $100,000 in sales taxes, $90,000 in property taxes, and $200,000 in Department of Motor Vehicles taxes.

By streamlining some operations, the city was also able to save. About $55,000 was saved by making the street cleaning billing system more efficient, Martinez said.

Fee collections also accounted for savings. A waste import fee brought the city about $103,000, and fees collected from the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System were about $159,000.

Martinez also found that utility companies were not being properly charged for encroachment permits.

“We found that private companies were not getting individual permits,” every time they would need to cut streets to access services, he said. Instead, utility companies like cable, gas and electric, would get one permit a year.

By charging per permit, the city received about $164,000. The city manager is also looking at ways to go after money for permits not pulled for the past couple of years.

Transfers from different funding sources were also added to the revenues. Approximately $80,000 and $274,000 came from various enterprise funds and by “tightening our belts” in certain departments, Martinez said.

The city also received final payment from a federal grant from 1994, for about $150,000.

When it comes to using that money, Martinez will make a recommendation to the Redlands City Council in February. The council will have final approval.

When it comes to his recommendations, Martinez said he would like to see $250,000 go to pay off a loan borrowed from the city’s reserves, plus an extra $150,000 for the reserves, $200,000 to the city’s liability fund, $200,000 to the city’s groves, and $126,000 each to the open space fund and park development fund.

After that, Martinez said he’d like to see the rest used to replace 12 of the city’s SUVs for more fuel-efficient vehicles, which would save about $18,500 per vehicle over its lifespan. In addition, he’s hoping to purchase four new police cars.

Then $198,489 would be allotted for residential street improvements. The streets would be chosen through the city’s pavement management system.

Martinez noted that Measure I provides significant funding for additional street paving, and that the residential improvements would help streets that may not benefit from Measure I.

He did caution that about 70 percent of these additional funds come from one-time revenues, and could not be expected year after year.

“I want people to know that we’re looking under every rock to get the most out of public resources,” he said. “The trend is to look at everything, and question everything.”

Reach Molly via email, or call her at 909-793-3221.

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