Dinuba finalizes budget with last council workshop

The Dinuba City Council listens to city staff members during the regular council meeting at Dinuba City Hall Feb. 13, 2024.(Serena Bettis)

Dinuba City Council is set to adopt 2024-25 city budget after hearing final workshop on enterprise, capital improvement project funds

DINUBA – The Dinuba City Council finished its review of the 2024-25 fiscal year budget with presentations on the city’s enterprise and capital improvement project funds, which are largely in good standing despite the overall decrease in revenue anticipated by city staff.

Dinuba Administrative Services Director Karina Solis broke down the details of the remaining funds for the council at its May 28 meeting, wrapping up the last of three workshops conducted on the budget. Council members had no objections to the proposed budget, which will likely be approved at the next meeting in June, and said they appreciated the detail that was put into the budget.

“It’s an exceptional job, given the situation and the circumstances we are in. It’s a balanced budget, it protects the services, protects the jobs of our employees … it’s very well done,” Councilmember Kuldip Thusu said.

Enterprise funds are used to manage specific city services that are required to pay for themselves, such as water and sewer operations, while capital improvement project funds are used to set aside money — either from other city funds or from grants the city receives — meant for large-scale infrastructure projects.

Thanks to water and sewer rate increases passed by the city council in September 2023, the water and sewer funds will end the current fiscal year on June 30 with positive balances. Solis said the adopted 2023-24 budget estimated that expenses would exceed revenues in the water fund by about $91,000 and in the sewer fund by $363,000. Instead, the year-end fund balances are projected to be just over $96,000 and nearly $145,000, respectively. 

Looking ahead to next year, the water fund will be operating with proposed revenues of slightly more than $3.9 million and expenses of just under $3.9 million, leaving approximately $27,000 remaining. The sewer fund will be operating with proposed revenues of $4.7 million and expenses of $4.6 million.

Although the city’s trash disposal fund was not discussed at the council meeting, the preliminary budget proposal shows the fund is expected to have a deficit of $195,000 at the end of the current fiscal year after a one-time expense of $75,000, used for alley repairs, is taken from the fund’s reserves. For the upcoming fiscal year, the fund is expected to again have a deficit of approximately $215,000.

The city is currently working on initiating the Request for Proposal (RFP) process for trash collection contractors and plans to cover the revenue shortfall with reserve funds until the RFP process is completed and a new contract, likely with increased rates, is implemented in fiscal year 2025-26.

Other enterprise funds managed by Dinuba include multiple funds for the operation of the Ridge Creek Golf Course, an ambulance fund and a fund for the city’s CNG (compressed natural gas) refueling station. The ambulance fund has proposed revenues of $5.6 million and expenses of $4.9 million.

The CNG fund has been operating in a deficit for the last few years but will have less of a deficit in the proposed budget because, due to the minimal activity the facility sees, the city is cutting employee services associated with it.

Solis said the city divided the Ridge Creek Golf Course fund into multiple funds this year in order to better show the operating costs for the golf course itself, its management, the event center and the restaurant. In total, the proposed revenues for the golf course are just over $4.1 million and the proposed expenses are approximately $3.5 million.

The city council also reviewed the proposed capital improvement projects for the next year, which will total more than $7.5 million, with some money coming from city funds and some coming from state grants.

Improvements made to parks and roads will make up the bulk of the projects for the year, including $750,000 in renovations to the Rose Ann Vuich Park restrooms funded through a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG); $2.9 million in renovations and beautification efforts for Entertainment Plaza funded by a state grant and $3.5 million in city-wide corridor street improvements funded through Measure R.

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