San Benito approves $12.8 million budget
SAN BENITO — The city’s payroll is fatter.
Earlier this week, city commissioners approved a $12.8 million general fund budget that earmarks $108,656 to create positions for two parks employees, two water plant workers and a museum assistant.
The budget is about $173,000 fatter than the current $12.7 million budget.
The new budget, which keeps the property tax rate at 72 cents per $100 valuation, includes an $87,058 package earmarked to fund 2 percent employee pay increases.
As part of the city’s long-term goal, the budget includes a $4.2 million cash reserve fund capable of running the city for 120 days in case of an emergency.
During the fiscal year opening Oct. 1, City Manager Manuel De La Rosa is setting aside $55,198 to hire two technicians to work at the $17 million water plant which the city shut down in 2014.
The two technicians will be working toward reopening the plant, expected to resume operations next year.
In 2014, a previous commission shut down the plant, which had opened in 2009, while the city filed a lawsuit against companies involved in its construction.
Last year, the city won a $9 million settlement, part of which is funding a project to reopen the plant.
As part of the budget, De La Rosa is also earmarking $32,438 to hire an administrative assistant for the new San Benito Cultural Heritage Center, which is featuring events.
The position was not filled during the current fiscal year.
“The staff worker will be an administrative assistant who will facilitate the day-to-day operations of the Cultural Heritage museum, assist with details associated with execution of agreements and planning for future long-term and short-term exhibits and programming,” city spokeswoman Martha McClain stated.
“ With the Cultural Heritage museum’s recent noteworthy progress and activity, the position is now needed and will serve as a tremendous asset to propel the museum into a higher-caliber facility that will benefit the city through culture, the arts and in greater economic development,” she stated.
Parks get employees
The city is revamping part of its parks department.
During the upcoming fiscal year, the city will tap $26,729 to hire an administrative assistant.
As part of the job, the new employee will also plan events at the city’s parks.
Meanwhile, the city will use another $26,729 to hire a maintenance worker.
During a summer budget workshop, De La Rosa said the employee will work on keeping up the city’s parks.
Tax revenue will fund most of the budget.
While property tax revenue is projected to generate $4.3 million, up from $4 million this year, retail sales tax revenue is expected to bring in $3.4 million, matching this year’s tax collection.
As in most city budgets, public safety took the biggest chunk of revenues, with $3.6 million going to the police department and $2.2 million earmarked for the fire department.
The budget includes $1.7 million for street maintenance, slightly less than the current budget’s expenditures.