The Pinole City Council this week approved a dual budget plan for the coming fiscal year, one for a full-service city, the other for a city with an abbreviated menu of services.
The difference between the two scenarios is the utility users tax, an 8 percent levy on gas, electricity and telephone bills that raises more than $2 million a year for the general fund. It expires in December, and the council likely will vote in July to place an extension of the tax on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The preferred budget, assuming extension of the utility tax, would include a $10.9 million general fund. It would require no further city staff layoffs and maintain the police department at 27 sworn officers.
One of the city's two fire stations would remain closed, but a roster of 15 firefighters would enable the single on-duty Pinole shift to field a crew of four rather than three much of the time. The preferred budget also would include a $45,000 subsidy for Pinole Cable Television and a $25,000 subsidy for the Pinole Swim Center, enabling it to stay open. Additionally, it would set aside a general fund reserve of $280,000.
A half-cent city sales tax, which is accounted for separately, augments the general fund by about $1.6 million a year.
The total budget for all the city's funds, including debt service, sewage, the newly self-financing recreation enterprise fund and others, is projected at $23.56 million.
The contingency budget, assuming
The city has cut its workforce by 53 positions over the past three years. Currently, there are 95 full-time and 11 part-time positions. Without extension of the tax, the city would have to lay off five police officers and a police services manager, three public works maintenance workers, two firefighters, an IT administrator, a human resources specialist, a cable-access technician and a part-time community safety specialist, according to the staff report.
Losing the three maintenance workers would require closing the dog park and picnic grove at Pinole Valley Park, officials have said.
There is a wild card in the form of upcoming reassessments of residential properties by the Contra Costa County assessor, which could affect Pinole's share of property tax receipts.
The vote for both the preferred and contingency budget was 4-0. Councilman Phil Green was absent.
Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760.