City spending – why it matters – Orange County Register

We all are very lucky to reside in Laguna Niguel.  For most of us, it was a purposeful choice.  We could have picked most anywhere, but something drew us here to make us call it our home.  What was that for you?  Perhaps it was that open space, our scenic corridors, the great parks and fun activities for youth, adults and seniors.  Maybe it was the low crime rate, the great schools or the community of neighbors and friends.  It could have been a combination of any of these that has us loving this place we all call home.

The list includes things we see and feel, which are all very important!  But behind the scenes, the reason we can have all the amenities we desire is a City Council and staff that are working hard to prudently provide city services, projects and programs that benefit Laguna Niguel residents both today and for the future.

It is that time of year again for the city to begin preparation of the annual operating budget and capital improvement projects for fiscal year 2017/2018.  The annual budget is probably the most important decision that the City Council makes during the year.  It sets out the priorities and spending plans for our great city.

The City Council will hold its Budget Workshop meeting at 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 10 in the City Council chambers to review and prioritize important projects.  Most importantly – we want to hear from you!  This workshop is a great opportunity for you to participate in the budget preparation process to make sure that our planned priorities and dedication of resources best reflect the needs of the greater community.

As the mayor of Laguna Niguel, I am extremely proud of our fiscally conservative policies that have protected taxpayer interests.  The city continues to be in great financial shape with zero debt and tens of millions in reserves.  This will continue as we plan for the next fiscal year.  I fully anticipate that the budget will be balanced, meaning we will continue to meet our operating expenses from incoming new revenues.  This will provide the continuation of top quality programs and services that make Laguna Niguel great. In addition, we will invest in important capital-intensive projects to improve our parks and streets without taking on any debt.

The anticipated budget for the fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018, is currently estimated at $39 million.  This is for ongoing annual programs, services and operations.  We also anticipate approving an additional $15 million for capital improvement projects. Therefore, next fiscal year’s total expenditures will be approximately $54 million.  Incoming revenues should exceed $46 million.  Therefore, the balance of the capital improvements will be funded from existing reserves.

The capital improvement projects anticipated for next year include: Completion of the Crown Valley Park designs for the replacement of the Community Building and staff trailers with a new state-of-the-art…

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