ANTIOCH -- A city struggling to stay afloat financially soon may have to squeeze $284,000 out of its budget to subsidize operations of its municipal marina.
The state's Department of Finance is not allowing transfers of about $769,000 in 2011 and 2012 to the city's marina fund as part of Antioch's dissolution of its redevelopment agency. Antioch officials continue to work with the state to resolve that spat, saying the transfer was legit.
"We're at the point where we are just starting to come off the bottom, and this is just going to further delay our recovery," City Manager Jim Jakel said.
That seized money could go a long way, Jakel said. For example, the $284,122 is almost half of what would be needed for Antioch to restore a 40-hour employee workweek and eliminate Friday furloughs.
"We're not happy with it obviously. Just when you think we might be turning the corner, we take another body blow," Councilman Gary Agopian said.
Antioch, which saw its revenues fall from $47 million in 2007 to $34 million two years ago, is expecting to bring in $35.9 million this coming fiscal year, which starts July 1, finance director Dawn Merchant said at a study session last week. Though its revenues are on the upswing, Antioch's budget includes $3.6 million from reserve funds to keep it balanced.
"Our budget is improving, but we're still not out of the woods," Agopian said.
In February 2012, the state dissolved about 400 redevelopment agenciest. Antioch is in the same boat as many other California cities that created successor agencies to wind down the agencies' former functions, settle debts and close the books.
Some have sued to keep the state from confiscating local funds.
In a May 1 letter to the city, the Department of Finance said Antioch's redevelopment agency erred by making a March 2011 payment of $456,458 to the state Department of Waterways as part of a marina loan payment when it was to make fixed quarterly payments of $62,500. The city also made a $250,000 payment on May 27, 2012, though payments were not allowed after June 27, 2011.
As a result, Antioch is bracing to cover the disallowed payments by drawing down a reserve fund designated for the marina and using money from its general fund, or all-purpose account, for the difference.
Antioch's 310-berth municipal marina was built in 1988 with redevelopment agency funds. It includes a public building with restrooms, showers and office space, a now-empty restaurant building, fishing and observation piers, fuel dock and new boat launch ramp. Marina costs also include paying staff that manages berthing for the boats.
Antioch subsidizes its animal services and recreation departments with general fund money. This year's budget proposed to put $569,000 toward animal services and $434,000 to recreation.
Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.