OCEANSIDE — City Council approved the city’s five-year financial forecast at its Feb. 5 meeting, which projects a general fund surplus of $1.31 million next year.
According to Financial Services Director Jane McPherson, general fund revenues for the city’s 2020-2021 fiscal year will be $166.92 million. With expenditures projected at $165.61 million, the city will have a surplus of $1.31 million.
“That net surplus will allow for minor net new ongoing costs and availability for some one-time items,” McPherson said.
A five-year financial forecast helps the city with planning, identifying financial trends, changes in expenditures through different departments and projects the cost of maintaining its current service levels.
With this five-year forecast, Financial Services assumed static conditions, rolled over basic maintenance expenditures from the current fiscal year and included a 1% increase to those costs and included all known personnel costs as well as place holders for outlying years, McPherson told council.
The forecast also included 12% of budgeted expenditures for Healthy City Reserves and all required funding for restricted funds, workers compensation and risk management.
The forecast did not include any new city programs. McPherson said such programs would be discussed at a budget workshop and included in the final budget.
Additionally, the forecast included increases to California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS).
“Over the next five years we’re going to see an increase of $9.21 million,” McPherson said.
For FY 2020-2021, there will be a $1.74 million increase for CalPERS.
Percentage of compensation within CalPERS will also change. For example, Safety is currently at 44.2% but would increase to 52.9% by FY 2024-2025. Miscellaneous is currently at 32.5% now but will increase to 38.5% in 2024-2025.
Council unanimously approved the forecast.
Deputy Mayor Jack Feller and Councilwoman Esther Sanchez both noted how significantly the budget has changed for the better since they joined City Council about two decades prior.
“When both Esther and I came on the council, I think the budget was… terribly different than this,” Feller said. “I think all of the benefits have gone to the city of Oceanside, so there’s been an awful lot accomplished in 20 years.”
According to McPherson, management will continue to scrutinize replacement hiring, decline additional new programs without a revenue source, invest additional funds into the CalPERS Trust Account to generate greater investment earnings to fund pension costs, and continue researching ways to cut costs while maintaining necessary services.
Samantha Nelson covers Oceanside, Camp Pendleton and the decommissioning San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. She earned her journalism degree from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, and has previously reported for The Athens Messenger in Athens, Ohio, and USA Today in McLean, Virginia. Follow her on Twitter: @samm1son