At the June 21, 2022, council meeting, the Town Council unanimously approved the $20.2 million “all funds” budget, which includes: General Fund budgets, Capital Improvement Program (CIP), Reserve Funds, Special Revenue Funds, Debt Service Funds, and the Water and Wastewater Utility Enterprise Funds.
In his annual budget message, Town Manager Steve Rogers noted, “What a difference a year makes” is an apt description of this year’s proposed budget compared to last year’s budget. Last year we had cautious optimism as we presented and managed an expenditure plan based on conservative revenue projections, given the uncertainty about the anticipated economic recovery from the COVID pandemic. Yountville and the Napa Valley have seen a robust economic recovery with a record-setting rebound in transient occupancy tax collections and a strong return in sales tax revenue primarily fueled by our restaurant sector. Revenue collection for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021/2022 will exceed budget estimates.”
Town Manager Rogers and Finance Director Celia King provided an overview of the budget, which included the following highlights:
- General Fund Expenditures ($10.4M) remain within the available revenue stream ($12.6M).
- No use of Revenue Stabilization Reserve or Emergency Reserve Fund is anticipated or included.
- The proposed budget reflects a return to pre-pandemic levels of services.
- At the Town Council’s request, an increase of two employees; one to focus on Code Compliance and one from a transition from contracted support to in-house Information Technology (IT) position bringing the total permanent employee count to 34 Full-Time employees.
- Public Safety costs increased by 3.14% for Law Enforcement to $1.23M, and Fire is projected to cost $984,022 before the County Fire Property Tax Credit Offset.
- After not taking a COLA salary increase or bonuses last fiscal year, employee bargaining units and management employees will receive a 7% COLA.
- Includes resumption of funding of the OPEB internal payroll rate at 5% to fund the OPEB trust fund. OPEB trust fund balance is $5.4M as of April 30, 2022. The unassigned fund balance at the end of the Fiscal Year could be a target for allocation.
- Includes resumption of funding for discretionary funding to PERS UAAL trust fund also at a 5% internal payroll rate. The trust fund balance is $2.6M as of April 30, 2022. The unassigned fund balance at the end of the Fiscal Year could be a target for allocation.
- Includes resumption of annual transfers to Fund 81 and 82 for Fleet and Facilities Reserve Funds.
- Continues implementing technology applications, including Laserfiche for records management, PrimeGov for paperless agenda management and live meeting broadcast, and OpenGov for budgeting and online permitting and the transparency portal.
- Continues to use Measure T and SB1 funds to maintain our streets at a PCI rating of 78, the highest in all of Napa County. Focus this year is on grinding and overlay, as well as asphalt repair work in preparation for future micro-surfacing.
- All Reserve Fund balance targets are met or exceeded. With the unassigned fund balance at the end of the year, the Council could choose to make increased contributions to these funds and evaluate if adjusting funding targets is warranted.
- Prepares for implementing a new 5-Year Utility Rate structure beginning in January 2023.
- A constant need to monitor the fiscal health of the Water Fund because of significant increases in the cost of water purchased from the State/Veterans Home and repayment of the loan to the Drought Reserve Fund to pay for the Washington Park Emergency Water line replacement project.
- Monitor any possible Federal infrastructure grant programs to determine if the Town has applicable projects.
Town Manager Rogers explained, “As the past several budget cycles have shown, the Town of Yountville has a unique General Fund revenue stream compared to typical California communities. The Town’s revenue stream is heavily dependent on tourism revenue. During the past two years of the pandemic, the Town experienced a $5.9 million revenue loss amongst TOT, sales taxes, permits, and fee revenue. In a typical year, 70% of our General Fund budget is derived from tourism-related activities, including Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) and restaurant and tasting room sales tax collections paid principally by visitors to our Town. We are fortunate to report the economic foundation for FY 2022/2023 looks more like that of the pre-pandemic 2019 period with 73% of our revenue expected to be derived from tourism-related activities.” Town Manager Rogers also shared positive news regarding the increase in locally generated property tax revenues to $2.14 million, which is the highest level we have seen and surpasses last year’s $2.01 million. Town Manager Rogers quipped, “As we prepare this year’s budget, locally generated property tax revenue WILL BE sufficient to pay for the $1.9 million-plus in costs for contracted public safety expenses for law enforcement, Fire, and emergency medical services, which are the most basic of local government services. This has not always been the case in prior years.”
Yountville Mayor John F. Dunbar stated, “I’m proud of our Town Council and staff for continuing the financial discipline that allowed us to adopt a balanced budget again this year despite the significant challenges related to the public health crisis and business interruptions caused by the pandemic. We continue to be able to serve our residents and businesses at the highest level, and Yountville remains a special place to live, work, and visit.”
Finance Director King wrapped up the discussion by encouraging everyone to tune into the July 19 Town Council meeting where the Finance staff will showcase the new Fiscal Year 2022/2023 online budget book and online Capital Improvement Program Storybook. We are excited that this budget will also be available online for anyone to access anytime. It’s all right here, Town of Yountville Online Budget Book