MODESTO NEWS: General fund budget shows signs of life

02/26/2013 3:36 PM

02/26/2013 4:35 PM

City officials got some good news during Monday's Finance Committee meeting: Modesto has collected about $1 million more in general fund revenues during the first six months of its 2012-13 budget.

The roughly $101 million general fund mainly pays for police, fire and parks. The general fund has lost about $20 million in revenues in several years because of the recession.

But Monday's good news was tempered. Revenues from property taxes remain flat, and some of the general fund revenues increase is due to increased collections of past due taxes, such as the transit occupancy tax.

Still, city officials are reporting that sales taxes, which make up about a quarter of general fund revenues, are coming in about $544,000 more than budgeted during the first six months of the 2012-13 budget. Some of the increase is due to higher gasoline taxes, but sales tax revenue also is up because of an improving economy and an increase in consumer confidence.

The city expects sales tax to increase by $1 million annually through the 2017-18 budget.

Finance Committee members also got an update on the financial picture for Centre Plaza and the city's three golf courses. The news was bleak. Revenues continue to decline. The Centre Plaza and the golf courses receive a general fund subsidy to balance their books.

The golf subsidy is $268,174 during this fiscal year, and the Centre Plaza subsidy is $430,000. Staff is addressing the subsidies for golf and the plaza.

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