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‘Stress’ on the City’s General Fund

City’s projected general fund is at $5.07 million — a 55-day reserve — for 2013. Officials would like to get to a 60-day reserve.

The city’s general fund is “stressed.”

At $5.07 million, a 55-day reserve, it’s not quite where Lakewood officials would like it to be.

At a special joint meeting of city council and the school board, the city’s finance director Jenn Pae provided a complete — yet bleak — picture of the city’s financial outlook. 

She pointed out that there are a few reasons for that, including “internal stressors,” the Great Recession and deep cuts in state funding.

“As the school district knows, our property taxes have not recovered,” said Pae told a room full of city and schools officials last week. 

On the bright side, she added, income taxes have recovered.

To see Pae's presentation, click on the PDF at right.

Other higlights from the presentation include:

  • The amount of money the city will collect — $33.2 million — in taxes and state funds in 2013 is the lowest it’s been in 10 years. But, thanks to attrition, so are the city’s expenditures.
  • There are 210 fewer full- and part-time city employees than there were in 2007, when there were 715 total. There are now 505.
  • Pae said that the city is looking to keep its budget balanced. A healthy fund balance, she said, means that the city has funds available “in the event of an unforeseen expenditure occurs or anticipated revenues do not materialize.”
  • She also noted that the city’s bond rating is at stake. “The better the rating, the less expensive it is to borrow,” Pae said. 

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