CONCORD, CA (July 24, 2023) — One of the most important responsibilities of any governing body is fiscal oversight – the ability to ensure an organization is living within its means and setting itself up for future success.
It is a responsibility that my City Council colleagues and I take seriously. Our guiding principles are: retain fiscal stability, achieve and maintain a 30% reserve and use one-time funds for one-time purposes. Funds above the 30% threshold are used for unfunded maintenance needs or unfunded liabilities.
The city took a very conservative approach to finances when the pandemic first hit. Like many other cities, Concord had been experiencing financial challenges prior to the pandemic. By June 2020, our revenues were down by $7 million. We had to cut budgeted expenditures by $10 million and cut 36 positions. Fortunately, our finances rebounded in FY22, and the council recently approved a balanced two-year balanced budget and maintains our 30% reserve.
Our $125 million budget is supported by Measure V, a voter-approved, one-cent transaction and use tax that is expected to generate approximately $32.2 million in local funding in FY 2023-’24. Thank you, Concord voters!
Of this, approximately $14.1 million is for general fund operations; $2.2 million will support council priorities such as economic development, public safety, the CORE program that assists with homeless services and code enforcement; and $15.9 million of Measure V funding will be directed toward transportation projects, street paving, building and parks maintenance.
Measure V funds were leveraged into a five-year roadway construction and infrastructure plan that you now see in progress throughout the city.
I’m sure you have experienced some traffic headaches recently, and I know it’s not fun, but our roadways are being improved. Learn about the construction timeline and specific projects at cityofconcord.org/CIP.
At our recent budget hearing, we agreed to enhance code compliance by adding a staff person for clerical functions of the community impact unit, so code enforcement officers can spend more time in the field. We also authorized an additional building inspector who will focus on building code compliance.
We use technology to enhance our staffing where possible and feasible. In 2003, prior to the recession, Concord had 529 budgeted full-time positions citywide; following significant cuts due to the Great Recession, our staffing was at 387 in 2013. As revenues increased and stabilized, we were able to bring that number up to 426, but when COVID hit in 2020, we cut dozens of allocated positions. We are anticipated to be up to 416 as of July 1, 2023 – still well below the pre-recession high.
Recruitment and retention of staff is a challenge most employers have been facing recently. I am pleased to report that with earlier efforts the City Council took along with recruitment efforts of staff, the citywide vacancy factor of 16% has decreased to 10% over the last year.
Police sworn vacancy decreased from 11% in April 2022 to 3% in March 2023, and Public Works decreased from 26% in April 2022 to 16% in March 2023. We also successfully and amicably completed labor negotiations with all our represented staff.
Our council and staff strive to create fiscally responsible budgets and financial policies that reflect the community’s priorities, and we are proud of our work on this budget. To learn more, visit cityofconcord.org/Budget.
Direct your questions and comments to the mayor at 925-671-3158 or Laura.Hoffmeister@cityofconcord.org.