City News

Finance Matters – Spring Overview

March 15, 2024, City News

At the upcoming March 19 meeting, the City Council will receive an overview of the City’s financial situation (see the March 19 Meeting Agenda Item). In a nutshell, the City of Sebastopol faces major long-term budget challenges with our General Fund, which supports most City functions including police, fire, land use, housing, maintenance of parks and facilities, support for non-profits, and administrative functions.

Some takeaways:

  • We are on a path to run out of money within three years unless we add revenue and/or reduce spending.
  • We’ve been using funds that we’ll receive only once to fund expenses that continue, creating an unsustainable situation.
  • Our per capita costs for service are high compared to most other cities in the County; we need to figure out what’s driving that and what we can do about it.

We are looking at a $2 million deficit in next year’s budget. The Recommended Budget that the City Council will consider in June will include substantial cuts to help us get on a path to financial sustainability. We know that these will be difficult, but we need a financially strong City in the long run. Our water and sewer funds also have major challenges. The City Council will consider options to address them, likely in April.

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