City's new budget 'ambitious'

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By SUNNY LOCKWOOD

Angels Camp will get two new full-time firefighters, a new police detective and better streets after approving the city's biggest budget in history almost $4 million more than last year.

The transient occupancy tax, which voters passed in May, adds $270,000 to the 2003-04 budget, giving the city $90,000 more to spend on roads, and equal amounts to spend on public safety and tourism promotion.

"To me, the highlight of this budget is the people voting for the (transient occupancy tax) increase," City Administrator Tim Shearer said. "We're able to significantly improve on the fundamental things a city is supposed to do roads, fire service and police. (The voters) are the big winners for this budget."

Angels Camp City Council adopted the largest budget in the city's history when it approved the 2003-2004 $15,367,691 plan Tuesday.

"This is an ambitious budget," said City Finance Director Blaine Oborn, "with the major portion of it going to large, long-term projects that improve the city infrastructure."

The city's fiscal plan has three separate funds.

The enterprise fund, with $10,539,052 for water and wastewater and other capital improvements, is the largest portion of the budget. It contains money from an almost $4 million loan to build and fix the city's water and wastewater plants.

The general fund has $2,234,881 and the special/agency fund has $2,464,295.

Oborn said the city is in good financial shape because of historically conservative budgeting.

"We have a healthy general fund reserve that will provide a cushion if there's a downturn in our economy," he said. "We're above our reserve goal of 35 percent of revenue." He estimated the reserve to be $1.5 million.

Mayor Debbie Ponte said the city is fortunate to have a balanced budget and a reserve.

"We have a lot of capital improvements with the water and wastewater projects and we may have to make adjustments in the future," she said, "but the rates collected are going back into the community for infrastructure improvements."

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The Union Democrat
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