Budget Update 2020/21
The City’s annual operating budget cycle begins in January with the preparation of the budgetary forecast for the next fiscal year that runs from July 1 through June 30. This forecast projects revenue and expenditure for the General Fund in the upcoming fiscal year. The budgetary forecast for Fiscal Year 2020-21 is projecting a $6 million operating budget deficit. This deficit is due to projected revenue growth not keeping pace with projected municipal costs.
City Departments have been asked to submit their Fiscal Year 2020-21 General Fund operating budgets with a 3% reduction over their prior year adopted budgets. Departments are to specifically identify the impact a 3% budget reduction will have on the services and programs provided to City residents. Departments are scheduled to submit budget proposals to the City’s Finance Department in February and March.
The City’s operating budget provides a plan for how the monies coming into the City (revenues) will be spent in order to operate and maintain City functions and services, such as police, fire, parks, and libraries. Core City services funded through the General Fund’s budget are supported by a variety of revenue sources. The four major General Fund revenues are sales tax, property tax, transient occupancy tax, and franchise fees and account for 78% of the General Fund’s revenue.
The City spends 66% of its General Fund departmental budget on public safety, and the remaining on services such as parks, libraries, public works, and general government services. City services require people to provide them, and as a result 84% of the City’s costs are personnel costs. City staff have been working diligently to keep costs down and increase efficiencies, but without new revenues Escondido will continually be forced to reduce or eliminate essential municipal services in order to balance future city budgets, including the upcoming 2020-2021 budget.
The City is currently considering placing a one percent sales tax measure on the November 2020 ballot. The current sales tax rate in Escondido is 7.75 percent; but Escondido receives only one percent of that revenue, with most going to the State, County and SANDAG. However, 100 percent of the revenue generated by this ballot measure would stay in Escondido and provide stable local funding for the City to maintain and enhance our Police and Fire services, improve our roads, parks and facilities, and elevate the quality of life in our neighborhoods. More information on the Public Safety and Essential Services Ballot Measure can be found on the following webpage: https://www.escondido.org/2020-revenue-ballot-measure.aspx
A series of informational presentations on both the budget and a potential revenue measure will be scheduled.