How Can We Best Assess Redlands’ Fiscal Health?
There are many factors to consider in assessing the fiscal health of a municipality such asRedlands, but the three most important all start with “R”: Reduced spending, Revenues, and Reserves.
The city started cutting back on spending several years ago. To date almost 20 percent of the workforce has been eliminated. For example, the police force has been reduced from 98 officers to 76 currently. These reductions have not been without impact, but staff have worked hard to use technology and improved business processes to make up for the decreased resources. Major costs for capital infrastructure projects such as street repair, and replacement vehicles have been deferred. The overall goal has been to live within our means as much as possible. This approach must continue as long as resources are tight.
Careful revenue projections are another important consideration. As the economy improves, it can be tempting to project overly optimistic increased sales or property tax yields based on recent quarter or annual payments. Redlands leaders and staff have resisted this temptation, relying on a conservative approach, meaning the only surprises that occur will be positive, not negative changes. Fee revenue also must be carefully estimated, and not counted until it is clear it will occur. Prudent revenue projections are one definite strategy that has helped Redlands maintain better fiscal health.
Finally, building and protecting adequate reserves is critical to good financial management. Several years ago the reserves had shrunk to very low levels. Through disciplined and tough management, current reserves have increased to over $12 million, or 20 percent of the city’s proposed $60 million 2012-2013 General Fund budget. These are “rainy day” funds that will not be touched unless there is truly a disaster or some other significant event justifying their use. I hope to increase our reserves to 25 percent of the General Fund in the next few years.
Of course, this is not to say all this goes without some impact to city residents and businesses. We are still well behind in investing in our infrastructure, namely our many streets, sidewalks, curbs, trees, and lights. Many of our vehicles are well past their useful lives. We are putting together some plans this fall to begin to focus in these areas, and will be sharing those plans later. We are also working with our labor partners to agree on new contracts that will reflect current fiscal realities yet maintain our abilities to recruit and provide a competent and effective workforce.
It’s a constant balancing act between living within our means, yet also looking to the future and investing to build Redlands even better than it is today. I look forward to working with the Chamber as we face this challenge.
WELCOME TO OUR NEWEST CHAMBER MEMBERSBELL AND YELLOW CAB COMPANY Caitlin Alexander 1510 W. 5th Street San Bernardino,CA 92411 Phone: 884-8777 Fax: 884-3388 Web Site: www.sbycab.com CHILDHELP USA Jennifer Quinn 1743 A Orange Tree Lane, Suite A Redlands,CA 92374 Phone: 335-1164 Web Site: www.childhelp.org PAGE LOCKSMITH David Page Yucaipa,CA 92399 Phone: 556-3270 Fax: 795-2853 Web Site: www.pagelocksmith.com LINDSEY FINANCIAL GROUP, INC Billy Lindsey 1980 Orange Tree Lane, Suite 270 Redlands,CA 92374 Phone: 335-6800 Fax: 335-6808 Web Site: www.retire-wealthy.com SHARP BUSINESS SYTEMS – INLAND EMPIRE Matt Burkholder 1325 Corona Pointe Ct Corona,CA 92879 Phone: 951-547-1009 Fax: 951-268-8025 Web Site: http://sd.sharp-sbs.com SPORTS WATCH BAR AND GRILL Don Lear 27961 Highland Avenue Highland,CA 92346 Phone: 280-3250 Fax: 863-2273 Web Site: www.sportswatchbarandgrill.com
Late Friday night, July 13, the Chamber learned that the City Council was considering approving an ordinance referred to as the “Soda Tax” that would apply a 1 cent per ounce business license tax on sugar added drinks sold in the City of Redlands as a ballot proposal on the November election. It is suggested that the tax could be used to help fund recreational programs, provide health education materials, nutrition classes, additional sports fields, recreation staffing and activities. It further suggests the tax will aide in the battle against obesity, heart disease and diabetes by using the funds generated to pay for education campaigns and other obesity-related programs.
The revenue collected by implementing the sugar added business license tax would go into the general fund. An advisory committee would recommend how the money would be used. Because this is a general tax it would only require a simple majority of the voters.
The ordinance had not been completely detailed and a number of questions had been left unanswered. President Paul Barich called an emergency meeting of the Executive Committee Tuesday morning, July 17, to discuss the issue and take a position on the agenda item. The Committee unanimously opposed the ordinance and appeared before City Council that evening asking them to NOT approve the ordinance, what in essence appeared to be “a blank check” …. an ordinance with no detail. The committee decision was based on a number of facts. The business community had not had any input … the hasty action to move the ordinance forward was not consistent with the message of transparency in government that is being delivered by City leaders. The Chamber had not been allowed sufficient time to speak to those businesses who will be most impacted by the action and the Chamber has a significant list of questions that need to be addressed and City staff was unable to answer those questions as of the Council meeting.
The Chamber as an advocate of the business community took quick action to insure that a hasty decision did not forever impact the local small businesses of Redlands.
Beaver Medical Group patients benefit from one of the most comprehensive medical groups in Southern California with over 170 doctors in 25 specialties along with many on-site services. The physicians of Beaver Medical Group are charged with improving the quality of life in the Inland Empire.
Beaver Medical Group provides extensive medical services and are conveniently located on-site including:
- Laboratory Services
- Optical Shops
- Radiology (X-Rays, Mamography, Ultrasound)
- Cardioloty Diagnostic Testing
- Chemotherapy Infusion Centers
- Gastroerology Laboratories
- Pharmacy (run by CVS at Redlands Main)
- Beaver Medical Group’s Urgent Care Centers provide convenient medical care for illnesses requiring immediate care everyday of the year. They are available to care for you and your family on a walk-in basis.
For many years, Beaver Medical Group has been known for being generous to many local charitable organizations, schools and cultural programs.
The Beaver Medical Clinic Foundation grants thousands of dollars in scholarships to local schools including local high schools, nursing programs and the University of Redlands. The Foundation also established a medical alcove at AK Smiley Public Library in Redlands over 10 years ago.
The Community Services Committee contributes to many non-profit organizations such as the YMCA, United Way, Inland Temporary Homes, the American Red Cross, and many others. The committee also donates to many cultural programs, including the free summer music festival at the Redlands Bowl and the Redlands Symphony.
Beaver Medical Group is also a major sponsor of the Redlands Bicycle Classic, one of the largest cycling stage races in the United States.
In addition, Beaver Medical Group sponsors and participates in Relay for Life events supporting the American Cancer Society.
To learn more about the services available, the doctors, clinics, ratings or more log onto beavermedicalgroup.com or visit Beaver Medical Group “Your Health Care Home”.
Budget Transmission was started at 1620 North E Street, San Bernardino,CA in 1984. A family owned and operated vehicle repair facility that has been built on providing free vehicle diagnosis, fair, honest pricing and a nationwide warranty.
With one goal in mind the crew at Budget Transmission wants to gain your trust by repairing your vehicle the right way for the best price. If you are concerned about your vehicle or if it is making a noise, slipping, jerking or maybe the “check engine” light is on, come by and ask for a free Diagnostic Service. One of our team members will check your vehicle, determine what needs to be repaired or replaced and give you a written estimate for the needed repairs. You can decide if you want to get your vehicle repaired right then and there or wait until a later.
While Budget Transmission has been in the transmission repair and replacement business for more than 30 years they have expanded their services to include complete automotive repair. They are ASE and ATRA Certified, Transmission, Clutch Repair, Engine Replacement, Tune-ups, Transfer Case, 4×4 Front and Rear, Differential, Shocks and Struts, Electrical Repair and much more.
All work at Budget Transmission is guaranteed and warranties up to 3 years are available. Free local towing with repair is available. For more information call Budget Transmission at 909 886-2844.
Get ready to get down and dirty! Unlike your average 5k, 10k or marathon, a mud run is an awesome adventure through…you guessed it…mud! Mud run courses typically combine all the muck with military-style obstacles that require a great amount of grit and determination to conquer. Most mud runs range in distance from 5k to 20k (anywhere from 3+ to 12+ miles) and requires a fair amount of sprinting, climbing, jumping crawling and sometimes swimming.
Mud running is for everyone. In the last few years, the “sport” has really gained ground, and you will be hard-pressed to find a calendar week without a mud run going on somewhere in the world. There is a wide range of mud runs in terms of distance, elevation, overall difficulty and competitiveness. But it doesn’t matter if you are a man or woman, chubby like a bunny or tight like a tiger.
Nearly all mud runs come with the following guarantee:
- You’re going to get dirty. Very dirty!
- You’re going to have a boat-load of fun!
Some of the obstacles are simple – for example forcing you to crawl through concrete pipes half full of muddy water. You might be challenged with scaling a wall of hay bales, or maneuvering through tires, forging through mud pits, across monkey bars or swinging on rope swings.
Each competitor is “timed” using chips triggered at start and finish. Teams are encouraged in order to help one another through the course but individual times are logged. But for the most part those participating in Mud Runs are there to have a good time.
The Chamber will present a day long event that will not only include a premier Redlands Mud Run but at the same time incorporate a Food court, Vendors, Radio Sponsor/DJ, and Beer Sponsor and much, much more.
Up for a corporate challenge want bragging rights for the entire year? Put together a team of twelve of your best “mudders” and challenge your competitors …. Best time accumulative time wins and takes home the grand trophy!
Log on to Redlandsmudrun.com and register today!
City Council continues debate on increase to service fees; Sets public hearing on July 17, 2012 City Council Meeting
Recently, the Redlands Daily Facts newspaper published news articles on the City of Redlands proposal to increase certain service fees, ranging from pet adoption to building permits and construction. At its City Council June 25, 2012 Fee Study Workshop, the Redlands Chamber of Commerce Fee Analysis Task Force, presented a list of questions for city staff, MGT of America, Inc. (Fee Study Consultants), and/or the City Council to provide answers or clarification and supportive documentation/data. The memoranda and the list of questions are attached at the end of this briefing.
As the Redlands Chamber of Commerce, representing the business community, the concern remains that our community will shoulder the burden of the City’s increase in fees while others receive and continue to enjoy general fund subsidies.
The “Economic & Policy Considerations” contained on Page 3 of the Consultant’s “revised June 21, 2012” report remain essentially unanswered as these considerations relate to the business community, the possible deterrent to establishment of new businesses and creation of jobs, and an impediment to economic activity and vitality, all of which will reduce general fund revenues to the city and the level and quality of services to our community.
Please voice your concerns at the July 17th, 2012 City Council public hearing on proposed Fee Increase Resolution and ask the City Council where are the economic programs and incentives to support the business community.
Date: June 25, 2012
To: City of Redlands City Council
From: Redlands Chamber of Commerce Fee Analysis Task Force
Subject: Fee Study Workshop, Comments and Recommendation for
Continuance to August or September 2012 City Council meeting
The Redlands Chamber of Commerce (“Chamber”) supports the City of Redlands(“Council”) in its efforts to update and complete its cost of services study in order to accurately report the true cost of providing various fee-related services to offset or eliminate any general fund subsidy in providing these services. However, to understand and ascertain the accuracy of the data and the study methodology, the Chamber request that the Council continue the Public Hearing and action on this matter until its August or September Meeting.
The additional time will provide the Chamber and its membership the opportunity to exam specific details of the study, the methodology, and allow a review of the Fee comparison with other cities as provided by MGT of America, Inc., in the June 21, 2012 revision copy. The Chamber intends to compare this comparison with another similar report completed by the Kosmont-Rose Institute Survey which indicated that Redlands was “High” in terms of the cost of doing business and whether the recommended increase in fees and the addition of “new fees” would be a deterrent to the establishment of new businesses and industries and be counter to the city’s promotion of economic development, business retention, and economic activities that provides general fund revenues and jobs to the community.
The Kosmont-Rose Institute Survey reported that two nearby cities were in the top of the list of least expensive cities to do business. The cities are the City ofHesperiaand the Town ofApple Valleywhereas the cities of Fontana and San Bernardino were at the top of the most expensive cities in the area to do business in.
The following page contains specific questions for Council, staff, and MGT to address with the Chamber.
Fee Study Questions and Comments
- Will the Council revisit the policy issue of cost recovery of recreation fees?
Collecting 100% of adult services
Increasing other services 4-10%
2. When was the date gathered? NPDES date suggests that the city completely subsidizes this program. Fees are being collected and have been.
3. Why the significant subsidizing in dog license vs. business license? $48K vs.$9K
4. How much does it cost to review plans?
5. What do you mean by “plan review”, “construction”, and “inspection”? There appears to be redundancy.
6. Fire cost recovery ….what is it?
7. Is there a file of 2007/2006 fees that was used as a base?
8. What is our break even?
9. Why are new fees included in the study? Should they not be considered independently? They appear to suggest the City is already subsidizing these costs.
10. Have some of the “new fees” been applied since the study? NPDES fees are currently being collected yet not reflecting payment.
It was agreed that Measure U must be an important part of the discussion as it will have a significant impact on fees and our ability to be competitive.
Congratulations to Angelina Frainee, the lucky winner of the Shop Redlands, June $100 Gift Certificate provided by Paul Emerson, Emerson & Farrar Jewelers. The month of July’s Shop Redlands prize is a $100 Prepaid Cash Card sponsored by Matt Leeds, Whitefrog Design.
Bring in your shopping receipts from chamber members or local businesses and be eligible for the drawing that will be held the last day of July. By shopping at chamber members you will receive two tickets for the drawing, non member receipts qualify you for one ticket. The member directory can be found on the Chamber’s website at www.Redlandschamber.org. The receipts must be $25 or more
Once again congratulations to Angelina Frainee, and thank you to Paul Emerson, Emerson & Farrar Here we go again …… let’s get shopping in Redlands!
By Jerry Bean, Redlands City Council Member
If you have experience with financial investments and would like to serve the residents of Redlands in much the same way as City Council members, you may be interested in the new very part-time job of elected City Treasurer.
In November, 2010, city voters decided the position should be elected rather than appointed, and in June of this year the City Council designated the position as part time with the city Finance Department staff doing nearly all the work of the Treasury Department.
The statutory duties of the City Treasurer as prescribed by the California Government Code are limited in nature, and the City Council believed that with city staff handling the day-to-day treasury functions, the position should be that of a part-time oversight treasurer.
The treasurer will have an office in the Finance Department but will not have to maintain regular office hours or even attend City Council meetings unless necessary.
But he or she would be expected to meet with the finance staff and other city officials regularly to review investment decisions for conformance with the city’s investment policy, which is a formal policy approved by the City Council. The treasurer could recommend to the City Council that changes be made in the policy, but they could only be implemented after approval by the council.
The treasurer will be paid $500 a month, the same salary that City Council members receive. The position will not quality for any city employment benefits. Candidates must be registered to vote within Redlands city limits at the time nomination papers are filed.
This model for the treasurer’s office, with some variations, is in place in many cities in the Inland Empire ranging in size fromBeaumont to San Bernardino and also including Banning, Colton, Fontana, Corona, Ontario, Rialto, Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, Lake Elsinore and Barstow.
The City Council also considered a full-time treasurer position, but determined that the cost of such a system would be much more expensive than the present system, which is now $222,000 a year less expensive than was budgeted in 2007 when a full-time elected treasurer was in office.
For more information about the elected city treasurer position, call city Public Information Officer Carl Baker at 909 798-7633. For information about filing for election, call City Clerk Sam Irwin at 909 798-7531. Filing of nomination papers begins on July 16 and continues through Aug. 10.