Part of the Bay Area News Group

Budget season is upon us

By Jonathan Morales
Thursday, May 26th, 2011 at 3:58 pm in Lafayette, Lamorinda, Moraga, Orinda.

If it’s May, it must be budget season. Here’s a quick roundup of where all three cities are in their budget process:

Lafayette: You can read my story on the Lafayette budget, which will be in tomorrow morning’s Sun, here. Last year city officials projected they would have a $515 surplus for 2010-11. Now, they’re projecting a $223 surplus for 2011-12. The good news is that $515 for the current year has grown to more than a half-million.

Moraga: The council has not taken a formal look at the town’s 2011-12 budget yet, but its Audit and Finance Committee did today and Town Manager Jill Keimach says the budget will come before council members at their June 8 meeting. With both revenues and expenses remaining relatively flat, the town doesn’t expect much change from this year. Officials are projecting an $86,000 surplus, Keimach said.

Orinda: The situation is a little less rosy here. The city is projecting a $417,000 shortfall over the next two years (Orinda prepares biennial budgets, so right now they’re working on fiscal years 2011-12 and 2012-13). The council has held a couple meetings on the budget, and city staff has begun looking for ways to close the gap. They found $132,000 in savings by recalculating their salary and benefits expenses. Another $75,000 could come through¬†forfeitures¬†of recycling deposits — this is money developers give the city to be returned once they can prove their project has met recycling standards. Another roughly $112,000 in savings will come through yet-to-be-specified reductions in the planning department and public works and engineering department. As of the council’s May 17 meeting, the city still needed to find $57,100 more to cut. City Manager Janet Keeter told council members at that time that she would be meeting with union representatives to try to negotiate additional savings.

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