Auburn budget shortfall now at $647K

By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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By Gus Thomson

Of the Auburn Journal

Auburn’s budget deficit now stands at an adjusted $647,000.

In a newly revised budget barometer presented to the Auburn City Council on Monday, Finance Director Andy Heath said that expenditures have been trimmed through paring of public safety overtime.

Revenue projections have been revised upward to reflect sales tax and building permit increases, Heath said.

In a March report, Heath provided a sobering look at the Auburn budget for the current fiscal year, which ends later this month.

At the time, the city was facing a $925,000 deficit, largely due to an accounting error that left a $376,000 sales-tax rebate payment to Nella Oil — now Flyers Energy — unpaid and undiscovered for four years. Heath was not finance director when the error occurred, having left the post to accept a job with the county. He was recently re-hired after a five-year absence.

The city is now looking at year-end spending of $12.3 million and $11.67 million in revenue. A $647,000 transfer from reserves would balance the budget.

Heath said that city staff is anticipating an $11.9 million spending plan for the coming fiscal year starting in July that will include a balance of spending to revenues.

“We’re making sure to have a balanced budget on all fronts,” Heath said.

New expenditures in the coming year include a $145,000 salary for new fire chief Dave Spencer and for a new position of police community services officer.

Heath said city coffers have been aided by a significant increase in home-construction permit revenue.

“Development just doesn’t seem to be going away,” Heath said.