Riverbank leaders to get first look at proposed budget Tuesday

Bee Staff ReportsMay 12, 2014 

— City leaders will get their first look Tuesday night at a proposed budget for the new fiscal year, and will revisit an old plan to boost downtown as well as a process that could bring council elections by district.

Income of $8.26 million in the year beginning July 1 would outpace expenses by $87,000 in the city’s general fund, which pays for core services such as public safety, parks and running City Hall. That would represent a small decrease from the current fiscal year, partly because officials won’t need to buy as many vehicles.

The city’s sewer fund, however, is in bad shape and could require a $221,000 subsidy if leaders don’t increase rates, a report says. The council is expected soon to hire a consultant to produce a study on water and sewer rates.

More budget talk is expected at a workshop scheduled for May 21.

Another firm continues to look at whether the council should abandon at-large elections and draw up districts to make the process more fair for minority candidates. That consultant is examining Riverbank’s voting patterns from 2000 to 2010 and eventually could suggest district boundaries.

The council also will hear an update on the creation of a plan to revitalize downtown, an effort that began eight years ago but which stalled in the recession and needs revising. At one time, leaders envisioned new housing, shops, offices, a plaza and a sports complex.

At issue are walkways linking downtown to the former cannery property and to parks; whether light industrial businesses such as Rizo López Foods and Sun Garden-Gangi Canning should be allowed to stay; whether the idea of requiring apartments in some areas should be relaxed; and whether downtown’s east end should extend to Seventh Street, or stop at Fourth or Fifth.

Tuesday night’s council meeting will start at 6 in the chamber at 6707 Third St. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/1oJBmPh.

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