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Drop in property values hits Orinda budget

By Jonathan Morales
Tuesday, July 12th, 2011 at 4:30 pm in Lafayette, Orinda.

Just weeks after the Orinda City Council approved its 2011-13 budget, the economy has blown a $100,000 hole through it.

Assessed property tax values are down throughout Contra Costa County, as my colleague Paul Burgarino reported this morning. In Orinda, they’ve declined 3.1 percent, which means about $150,000 less revenue for the city in the coming year, according to City Manager Janet Keeter. The city had planned for property tax revenues to remain flat.

The adopted budget included a general fund shortfall of about $53,000, which the city hopes to close through negotiations with its employees union. The city will receive $100,000 in state COPS funding it had not planned for, but will lose money it gets from vehicle license fees.

Add all that together, plus the property tax hit, and next year’s shortfall is now $146,000.

Keeter said city staff has had preliminary discussions about how to deal with the now-increased budget deficit but is, at this point, not sure if the gap should be addressed immediately or this winter when the City Council does its standard mid-year review.

Assessed property values in Lafayette dropped about 0.7 percent, which translates to about $23,000 less revenue, which Administrative Services Director Tracy Robinson said is “not enough to be a big difference.” She said she will keep an eye on incoming property tax revenue over the next few months and make adjustements, if needed, in December during the mid-year budget review.

Property values in Moraga rose 0.5 percent, making it one of only three Contra Costa County cities to see an increase.

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