Thursday, June 15, 2017

Town Budget scheduled for adoption

In May-June 2017, the Town Council held a public budget workshop on the Town’s proposed two-year budget for 2017-19, and subsequently has scheduled the budget for adoption on June 21st. The budget is simultaneously an expenditure plan, a statement of priorities, and a means for continuing public services in a fiscally responsible and transparent manner. In order to foster greater community engagement and education in the process, in December 2016, the Town provided a public workshop on the process which was, for the first time, broadcast on Facebook Live in order to reach a greater audience and provide a chance for replaying the session at residents’ convenience.

In preparing the new budget, it was important to reflect upon the priorities and accomplishments of the prior two-year budget cycle, which included these major activities:

·         General Plan 2040 Update (once every 20 years)
·         Parks and Recreation Master Plan Update (once every 5-10 years)
·         Preparation for the Urban Growth Boundary election scheduled for November 7, 2017 (once every 20 years)
·         State of California Proposition 64 Recreational Marijuana policy mandates
·         Solid Waste Franchise bidding process (once every 10 years)
·         Completion and Opening of Bell Village Retail Center
·         Update to Town Website (once every 5-10 years)
·         New Discover Windsor website
·         Jaguar Way/Windsor Road Traffic Signal and intersection improvements
·         Improvements to Pleasant Oak Park, Robbins Park, and Sutton Park
·         Police Department Facility Expansion and Remodel
·         Council Chamber Upgrades
·         Participation in new Sustainable Groundwater Management Act mandates

The past two years have been robust in terms of the Town undertaking these and many other significant one-time projects and efforts.  Many of the above initiatives are mandated by the voters or law, and lack a funding source apart from the Town’s General Fund.  Some of these and other worthy projects utilized a portion of the Town’s General Fund reserves for their initiation and/or completion. The Town is now reaching a more steady state in terms of its revenues and reserves, and since many of these larger, one-time projects are completed, or near completion, a new level of “normal” expenditures is projected.

Overall, the Fiscal Years 2017-19 Budget is balanced and includes $122.5M in appropriations made up of a $103.1M operating budget, a $5.5M debt service budget and a $13.9M capital expenditures budget.  The Town has a longstanding practice of biennial budgeting, which allows for longer-term planning and forecasting as well as reduces staff time and administrative overhead required for budget preparation.

For the proposed budget, Town departments were directed to prepare sustainable expenditure plans that enable the Town to continue our conservative fiscal policies while ensuring service delivery continues uninterrupted for our residents and customers.  Our goal has been to maintain a budget that enables us to retain prudent reserves while planning for the future.

The Town welcomes any questions regarding Town finances. Questions and comments may be directed to Camille Kazarian, Assistant Town Manager/Administrative Services Director, at 838-1000. The Town also operates an on-line Virtual Suggestion Box for your convenience at