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Articles

Ojai Ponders Proposed 2010-2011 Budget

By Misy Volaski

Once again, Tuesday night’s Ojai City Council meeting focused on trimming back spending and getting the budget in order.
City manager Jere Kersnar presented his 2010-2011 proposed budget, as well as the final revised 2009-2010 budget. Details were passed out to council members, but no decisions will be made at least until June 8 and 15, when the council will host meetings to discuss the budget and accept comments from residents. A final budget is scheduled to be adopted on June 22, but by law can come in as late as June 30.
Kersnar said before his presentation of the proposed budget, “This is the worst economy since the Great Depression; a 20 percent decline in two years in our general fund. We are going to show a deficit, but it can be characterized as a planned deficit.”
However, despite some gloomy expectations, Kersnar and his staff were able to bring the budget down to a $116, 780 deficit by making “cautious and conservative” estimates.
Sales tax is down 11.6 percent from this year, Kersnar explained, while the transient occupancy tax, or “bed tax,” dropped 23.6 percent. “That’s about $500,000 short on the hotel tax and $150,000 short in sales tax,” said Kersnar.
“The misconception is that it’s easy for cities to raise revenue,” he added. “But that’s not true. We can’t raise taxes unless we do a vote, so we’re stuck with the revenues we’ve got, and we’ve come up with a spending plan to match those revenues.”
Cuts included items large and small, with most falling into the latter category. “Most of it is not something the public will feel,” Kersnar noted. For example, “We changed the way we pay people, changed the health plan, made different rules on overtime. So that saves us some money.”
But one of the biggest cuts has already begun to take place. Earlier this year, the city canceled its rest room and landscaping maintenance contracts, planning to transfer those responsibilities to the city’s

Once again, Tuesday night’s Ojai City Council meeting focused on trimming back spending and getting the budget in order. City manager Jere Kersnar presented his 2010-2011 proposed budget, as well as the final revised 2009-2010 budget. Details were passed out to council members, but no decisions will be made at least until June 8 and 15, when the council will host meetings to discuss the budget and accept comments from residents. A final budget is scheduled to be adopted on June 22, but by law can come in as late as June 30.

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