City finances OK—for now

Chico finished the 2008-09 year in good shape

Chico city government finished the 2008-09 fiscal year in remarkably good shape financially, given the depth of the recession.

That was the message the City Council received Tuesday (Oct. 6) from Finance Director Jennifer Hennessey, who presented the fourth-quarter financial report for the year, covering April through June.

Revenues are seriously down, she reported, especially sales tax. Car dealerships have been hit hardest, with sales down more than 40 percent since 2006. Fuel-tax revenues are also down significantly.

At the same time, the city’s deficit-reduction strategy, implemented in 2008, has resulted in much lower operating expenses, compensating for the reduced revenues. As a result, the 2008-09 budget came in balanced as projected, with a $2.7 million fund balance.

Looking forward, Hennessey and City Manager Dave Burkland both warned of additional “state takes” and said a number of capital projects may have to be put on hold.