As the Roseville economy continues to improve from the Great Recession, we will take a prudent approach at controlling expansion. The City asked General Fund departments to stay within a 3.5-4.5 percent increase from prior-year budgets to match operating revenues with operating expenses. New positions were reviewed and analyzed to ensure critical business needs were being met. With staff’s diligence in controlling costs, some positive circumstances have allowed the City to maintain a high level of service. Those include carryover generated by spending less than was budgeted and an increase in revenue that was slightly higher than projected.
The strong outlook for sales and property tax revenue and increased development will offer some opportunities. While much of the revenue increase will be consumed by costs mentioned earlier that aren’t within the City’s control, the City Council has directed staff to look for opportunities to rebuild the City’s reserves. The last several years was a clear sign that a reserve fund is critical to survive any economic downturn as the City used these “one-time” monies to close the remaining gap in the structural deficit for several years.
It is critical to identify a uniform cost-recovery strategy that eliminates unfunded liabilities and creates value and predictability for our customers. The City conducted an analysis in FY2013-14 to examine its cost-recovery methods related to development services. In most cases, entitlement fees held steady or were suspended during the economic downturn. With cost recovery varying from 20-100 percent among permitting, building, engineering, inspection and fire, the goal is to have a pricing model that ensures a 95-100 percent cost recovery, and a long-term strategy to develop a reserve fund. Several fees will be adjusted and outreach to the development community will enhance understanding of the city’s approach to cost recovery.
Efficiency of workforce operations
Efficiency and performance audits - The audit cycle that began in 2011 with yearlong citywide audits conducted by the Matrix Group and Citygate established baseline recommendations on operations, personnel, and processes in all the departments throughout the City. The four-year cycle approved by the City Council in 2012 includes a rotational schedule of departmental audits to ensure city departments operate efficiently compared to comparably-sized jurisdictions, manage risks effectively, perform well with respect to internal controls and as stewards of public funds and resources. Audits for the Electric and Environmental Utilities departments were completed in FY2013-14, and in FY2014-15, Parks, Recreation & Libraries and Public Works will be audited.
Budget oversight - In FY2014-15, the City is expanding the scope of the Finance Department to allow for quarterly meetings with departments. This will position Finance with a more strategic role in the oversight of departments’ budgets to ensure accountability and transparency and the support of departmental goals.
Employment models and training - After cutting more than 180 positions from the General Fund since 2007 (about 15 percent of the workforce), a variety of staffing models are being considered for the long-term. The City is determining how to balance providing services and responding to community needs with minimizing long-term costs. We continue to determine on a case-by-case basis whether a service requires a full-time regular position, a temporary position, or a contract position. Along with this, the City continues to evaluate and monitor the optimal mix of full-time and temporary labor to successfully provide various city services. In the FY2014-15 budget, the City will allocate $100,000 toward a paid internship program that will help diversify, evaluate, and train our future workforce and strengthen partnerships with universities and the community.