ORANGE COVE – The Orange Cove City Council formally passed the city’s operating budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year recently, and also approved two other items related to spending.
A resolution adopting the $33.6 million budget unanimously passed at the Orange Cove City Council meeting on June 14. The total budgeted revenue for the upcoming fiscal year is $33,604,897, with about $25.35 million coming from special revenue. Daniel T. Parra, interim city manager, said the general fund budget is balanced with a matching amount of revenue and expenditures listed at $3,576,024.
The total estimated revenue exceeds the total budgeted expenses for 2023-24 of $21,982,663. Revenue for enterprise funds and the successor agency also exceed the budgeted expenses.
The general fund for 2023-24 is down by nearly $600,000 from the 2022-23 fiscal year, but property tax revenue is forecast to increase by slightly more than $225,000. Property taxes will account for 58% of the general funds revenue.
In addition to the upcoming fiscal year budget approval, the council held discussion and voted to change wording surrounding the parcel tax, Measure O, to say “without expiration” as the measure continues funding police services and fire protection and protection services. The council also approved amendments to an ordinance in the Orange Cove Municipal Code, increasing authority for the city’s purchasing officer (city manager).
More details on the two additional council approvals include: the Measure O special tax, which generates almost $264,000 annually for police (80%) and fire (20%), was initially approved by two-thirds of Orange Cove voters in 2014 and is under effect for 10 years before expiring on a sunset clause. This council vote merely changed the wording that will be on the measure when it goes before voters for renewal in November 2024.
The ordinance calls for maximum annual taxes of $95 for single family residential units in the city. It calls for $65 on each multi-family residential unit, $95 for each agricultural parcel within the city, $495 for each commercial parcel (zoned for commercial purposes) and $750 for each industrial parcel (zoned for light or heavy manufacturing purposes).
Proceeds from Measure O have been placed into the city’s general fund and dedicated solely for the council-approved police services and fire protection/services.
Measure O passed in 2014 with 67.57% approval, above the needed two-thirds mark. If it is renewed by voters next year, the measure will remain in effect unless repealed.
Parra said the annual revenues have been critical in helping the city maintain important police and fire services at effective levels.
The ordinance to chapters 3.08.040 and 3.08.050 calls for increasing the purchasing authority of the city’s purchasing officer (city manager) tenfold, from less than $5,000 to $50,000 or less. This increased amount of purchases awarded and signed is applicable unless the city council expressly reserves approval on a particular purchase or contract, or the city manager requests council approval.
Any amount of purchase or contract above $50,000 – previously more than $5,000 – will be awarded by city council and signed by the mayor.
For non-public project contracts, amendments will mean the following procedures as follows: on purchases up to $500, the city manager will ensure that the city pays fair prices and receives commensurate value for the amount spent. On purchases between $500 and $2,500, price quotes must be solicited verbally or in writing from a minimum of three vendors, if available. The low price quote must be confirmed in writing.
Any non-public expenditure above $2,500 must have written specifications for delivery schedule, materials, supplies, equipment or services that must be prepared. Price quotes must be solicited in writing from a minimum of three vendors, if available, and the low price quote must be confirmed in writing.
Parra said the ordinance amendments are necessary to make emergency purchases in the event of unexpected infrastructure repairs. Most instances of larger purchases still fall under council overview.