The City Council is expected Tuesday to discuss and then approve Modesto’s proposed $373 million operating budget for its 2017-18 budget year, which starts July 1.
The spending plan is not significantly different from the current budget but it includes a proposal to charge customers who pay city bills with credit and debit cards the transaction fees the city is charged by the company that processes those payments.
City officials have said Modesto would recoup its costs and not make money, but this could save the city roughly $500,000.
A city report says the fees would vary based on the types of transactions and could be as much as 3 percent, though the city expects to pay transaction fees on average of 1 percent in its current budget year.
The budget includes a proposal from Mayor Ted Brandvold for the council to hire its own auditor and replace Moss Adams, the consulting firm that has served as auditor for several years.
Brandvold wrote in his budget message this would give the council “a fourth Charter officer directly accountable to the City Council” and would improve city government.
The other charter officers are the city manager, city clerk and city attorney, though the city contracts with Meyers Nave for city attorney services. Charter officers are the only employees hired and fired by the council.
Modesto has budgeted $181,493 in its last two budget years for Moss Adams’ services. Brandvold is proposing to spend $259,502 for an auditor and an assistant in the upcoming budget year.
A previous council replaced an in-house auditor with Moss Adams in 2011.
Council members are expected to discuss any changes they want in the proposed budget before approving it and authorizing a public hearing and adoption of the budget at their June 27 meeting. The public can speak at both meetings.
The council meets at 5:30 p.m. in the basement chambers of Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th St.