Things are looking up financially for the city of Lodi — at least a bit. General Fund revenue estimates are up slightly for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1. The promising outlook is in part thanks to a new stream of income worth nearly a million dollars.
The Lodi City Council received a financial report card of its revenues at Tuesday's early morning study session.
The overall picture is that General Fund revenue, which pays for services like the police, the fire department and the library, is up 1.6 percent, a slight increase of $654,600.
Some highlights include a $172,000 increase in the business license tax and a $24,200 increase in sales tax, which had stagnated or declined in previous years.
But a new revenue stream is coming soon. When the Lodi Energy Center comes online later this year, the city will be selling some of Lodi's treated wastewater to help run the plant, resulting in an additional $960,000 in revenues for the next fiscal year.
The city signed a 10-year agreement allowing the Northern California Power Agency to purchase 1,600 acre-feet per year of the city's wastewater plant.
Currently, the water is discharged into the Delta or is used to irrigate crops.
Several funds are still struggling. Property taxes are estimated to be down $311,200, as well as state vehicle license fees. The vehicle fees are tied to property taxes, and they will be down $162,620.
Here are other updates from the meeting:
On the economic outlook: The city of Lodi is doing better than the rest of San Joaquin County in foreclosures and unemployment. Lodi is currently at a 0.37 percent foreclosure rate, which means that roughly 4 out of every 1,000 home received some type of foreclosure notice since April 2011, according to RealtyTrac, a website that tracks residential housing.
San Joaquin County is higher at 0.54 percent, and both the city and county are higher than the statewide average of 0.33 percent. Nationally, foreclosure rates are only at 0.15 percent.
One in 7 people who could potentially be employed in the workforce were unemployed in Lodi for the month of March, according to the Employment Development Department. That is worse than the state's average of 1 in 9, but better than San Joaquin County's average of 1 in 5.
On employee concessions and negotiations: Deputy City Manager Jordan Ayers emphasized the importance of employees electively giving up some pay and benefits during the last couple of years. In the current budget, city unions agreed to $3 million in cuts.
"We wouldn't be able to give you a balanced budget without concessions," Ayers said.
Nine of the city's 10 union contracts expired recently forcing city staff and union leaders into the negotiation room. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers' contract continues until December 2013, but the city is still asking the group for temporary concessions.
It has reached contracts with seven of the nine bargaining groups for the next fiscal year starting July 1. The total cost savings so far is $1.5 million.
The city is still negotiating with the Lodi Police Officers Association and the Dispatch Association.