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City in good shape financially, official tells council

The Shafter City Council Tuesday afternoon discussed the status of the city's budget for the fiscal year 2023-24, and also talked about the future numbers dealing with the fiscal year 2024/2025. The city saw an increase in the net position financially, with an increase of $8.1 million, giving the city a net position of $235 million in assets.

This increase, according to Financial Director Roger Sanchez, is a result of an increase of sales tax and property tax revenue.

Sanchez said that the city is one of the most financially stable cities in the county, if not the state.

There were two departments that showed decreases in their budgets and operated at a loss for the year. One of these is the Water Fund. "This is a result of increasing electricity costs, inflation, and an increase the costs for maintaining the filters in the water system," said Sanchez.

He also said that at this trend, it would not take long for this fund to be depleted. To this problem, the city is going through a rate schedule study, resulting in a possible increase in water rates for residents. "The last increase in the rates was over seven years ago, and we are looking at a rate study for advice on how to go forward."

Another is the Waste Water Fund, which saw a significant decrease. City Manager Gabriel Gonzalez said that this also is a result of increased electricity rates, maintaining the sewer plant and the filtration systems. He advised the council that they would have a report on a rate schedule study in the near future.

As far as the General Fund, Sanchez said, there has been an increase in funds of $4.1 million, to $47.9 million. "This is even taking into account extra expenses with the hiring of four new police officers to man the new Shafter Police Substation, as well as two dispatchers." This also takes into account the cost of the completion of the restoration of the Shafter Aquatic Center. "The majority of the project is funded by grants, which decreased the city's costs for the project significantly."

Sanchez said that according to reports, they are expecting another increase in the General Fund for the fiscal year 2024-25, with increased sales tax and property tax revenue.


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