Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Suisun City Anticipates Budget Surplus

Suisun City Anticipates Budget Surplus
By Ian Thompson

SUISUN CITY - Suisun City Manager Suzanne Bragdon called a nearly $300,000 expected budget surplus a conservative figure that she expects will be even higher when the city closes the books on the 2005-06 fiscal year in June.

Councilmembers had nothing but praise Tuesday night for news that this will be the first time in three years that Suisun City will actually have a budget surplus, not the $200,000 deficit it expected to have when the budget was approved in October.

"This is a reflection that our staff is in touch," Mayor Jim Spering said of the marching orders Bragdon was given to bring the budget in line when she was hired in December.

Bragdon told the council that she expects City Hall to close the fiscal year in June with an estimated $276,030 surplus.

Bragdon also told the council that the city's reserves are also expected to climb from $3.1 million to about $3.7 million, mainly due to the recent sale of the city's property on Twin Sisters.

To ensure the city stays in the black, Bragdon recommended the council consider more ways to ensure the city stays out of deficit spending by:

- Changing city fees such as development impact fees and fees charged to residents for using city services and programs to make these better pay for themselves.

One of these includes updating the impact fees which have not been changed since 1994 .

- Cracking down on business license enforcement. Fewer than half the businesses in Suisun City have licenses, according to Bragdon's report. Such a crackdown could generate up to $200,000.

"We really aren't collecting from a large number of businesses," Bragdon said.

- Streamlining the city's permit process to encourage more development, especially sales tax-generating commercial development, to come to Suisun City.

"We need to get more commercial development in place," Bragdon said.

Earlier in the evening, the council took another step in this direction, approving a $25,000 contract with the Buxton Company of Fort Worth, Texas, to find out just what specific retail businesses would want to come to Suisun City.

The study is expected to look at just what products and services Suisun City residents are interested in buying and what specific companies can meet those needs.

One businessmember voiced concerns that the study would be geared toward larger chain businesses and discourage the smaller independent businesses.

The study goes out two weeks before the city council is supposed to get back a study that is examining all the city's vacant commercial land and what the best use for these sites should be.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or at

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