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City Sees Little Change in Main Income Sources : Finances: A budget review reveals a possible shortfall in income, but no reduction in services is expected.

March 07, 1993|DUKE HELFAND | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

COMMERCE — The city's main income sources, the Commerce Casino and sales taxes, will remain flat or increase modestly in fiscal 1993-94 compared to this year, officials said.

The city will also most likely lose at least $1.3 million in state redevelopment funds and property tax money in the coming year, leaving a deficit of at least $92,000. Even so, police, fire and other services will probably not be cut, Finance Director Tom Bachman said.

"Unless we take some severe hits (from the state) against the city, we are now looking at maintaining the same level of services," Bachman said. "We'll have a better idea of our revenues as time goes on."

Bachman and City Administrator Louis Shepard briefed the City Council recently on the city's financial condition during a midyear budget review.

Income from the card club and sales taxes will account for $21.3 million this fiscal year, or 71% of the city's $29.9-million operating revenues, according to city figures.

Casino payments to the city--13.2% of the club's gross receipts from seat rentals--are projected to remain at $11 million next year. Sales taxes, which have fallen each of the last three fiscal years, will probably increase, going from $10.25 million to $10.4 million next year, according to city estimates.

Shepard warned against relying too heavily on a limited number of income sources: "We need to have a broader plate of revenues so that if something happens with one of them (we will have others on which to rely). We need to have revenues that are completely independent of the state of California."

This fiscal year, the city cut more than $2.5 million in sheriff's, fire, recreation and library services and made all city departments cut budgets 10% to make up for drops in sales taxes and state funding.

Officials said they have taken steps to make up the lost funds and to prepare the city for what could be a continuation of the recession, which they expect to last though spring.

In January, business-license fees were raised for the first time in the city's 33-year history. The increase--from a flat $10 to between $50 and $3,000, depending on a business' square footage and number of employees--will generate an additional $522,000 this year.

The council has also approved plans for a waste transfer station on Bandini Boulevard that will generate $2 million annually for the city's general fund once it opens next year.

Bachman said the city will borrow from its $4.5-million reserve to make up any additional losses in state funding this year.

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