KING CITY — City council members from King City heard a presentation about the city budget and city goals during a special council meeting on May 26.

After making large budget cuts for the 2020-21 fiscal year in anticipation of economic turbulence due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it appears those efforts were an over-adjustment and the city could be on track toward balancing its debt.

“We’re in a pretty strong position moving forward as far as replacing some of the things we cut out of the budget during the plan for the pandemic,” City Manager Steve Adams said. “We really achieved our goal to stabilize our budget to fund our basic service levels.”

Adams noted there isn’t a large amount of discretionary money, however. The largest need, he said, is in the maintenance area.

“One of the things that makes King City special is we have all these amenities for the community,” Adams said. “We have an airport, a golf course, a pool, all these special things. But if we can’t maintain them, then it’s almost a reason not to have them.”

He added, “Since the city’s been in trouble for quite a while, there’s been very little maintenance going on. So now that we’ve stabilized the budget, we want to try to address that as our next goal. Our proposal to fund that comes to about $1 million total.”

The purpose of the meeting was to showcase information about the budget and highlight the different accomplishments and goals of the various city departments.

Adams explained his pitch for a $1 million maintenance program and a potential 1/2-cent sales tax increase was not a call for an action from council, but merely presentation and asking for the council’s blessing as a strategy to look into. Placing items on the ballot and taking action would wait after gauging public support.

Pitched during the meeting was a proposal for city leaders to consider a 1/2-cent sales tax measure. Currently King City is tied for the lowest local sales tax in the region at one cent with Arroyo Grande, Gonzales, Pismo Beach and Sand City. An increase would put King City in alignment with a majority of communities in the area.

Finance Director Mike Howard provided overview of the city’s budget.

The total budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year is $24,087,756, while the following fiscal year of 2022-23 will drop to $18,538,906. Meanwhile, the general fund will rise from $8,766,374 in 2021-22 to $9,099,482 in 2022-23.

The largest general fund revenue sources for King City’s 2021-22 fiscal year were local sales tax at 22%, sales taxes at 18% and property taxes at 14%. Of the appropriations from that general fund, police was the largest share at 44%. No other category, from engineering to the civic center, exceeded a single-digit percentage.

Planned capital improvement programs included: street improvements, downtown streetscape, sidewalk improvements, rail station platform, taxiway paving, Lynn Street sewer line replacement, police security camera system, visitor and history center, Jayne Street solar streetlights and a fire rescue utility truck.

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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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