Dinuba council OKs $119M budget for FY 24-25

Dinuba City Councilmember Linda Launer asks a question during the council meeting Feb. 13, 2024.(Serena Bettis)

Dinuba City Council approves 2024-25 operating budget with expanded capital improvement projects

DINUBA – Despite uncertainties around sales tax revenue and inflation, the city of Dinuba’s budget has been finalized at more than $119 million for fiscal year 2024-25, a 46% increase from the previous year.

An influx of state grant funding will allow Dinuba to tackle multiple one-time capital improvement projects while continuing city services at their current level. City Manager Luis Patlan, in his budget transmittal letter to the city council, reflected on how the city is still in a stable financial position and commended the city’s finance department for its work to keep Dinuba fiscally solvent.

“The city of Dinuba is fortunate to have a dedicated staff that is committed to providing the highest level of service to the community,” Patlan said. “City staff remain responsive to resident’s issues and work hard to ensure the highest level of customer service to the community.”

The Dinuba City Council approved the budget proposal on a 4-0 vote, with Vice Mayor Rachel Nerio-Guerrero absent, at its June 11 meeting after reviewing the budget’s key components at three different workshops throughout April and May.

The city’s general fund, which sustains most city departments and operations, remains steady with expenses at $18.1 million, down just slightly from the $18.3 million general fund budgets adopted in 2021 and 2022. For fiscal year 2023-24, the city adopted a more conservative general fund budget of $17.4 million but is projecting to end the fiscal year on June 30 with expenses nearing $18.2 million.

As discussed at the April 23 council meeting, general fund revenues are expected to be down from the last few years, estimated at $18.4 million compared to the nearly $21.9 million in the 2023-24 adopted budget, $20 million in 2022-23 and $24 million in 2021-22. This is attributable to a decrease in sales tax revenue of $4.7 million compared to what was estimated in last year’s budget.

The majority of Dinuba’s enterprise funds, which pay for themselves through service fees, are financially stable as well; however, the city’s disposal fund is expected to have a $195,000 deficit to end the current fiscal year and a $215,000 deficit by the end of fiscal year 2024-25. The city is planning to cover these shortfalls with reserves until it implements a new trash hauler contract, likely with higher rates, for fiscal year 2025-26.

Total expenses coming out of the city’s capital improvement project funds will reach more than $53.5 million, an increase of almost $34.7 million compared to the projected end for the current fiscal year.

According to the proposed budget, more than $23.6 million will come from unspecified state grants, $5.8 million will come from Tulare County’s Measure R and more than $13 million will come from the Active Transportation Program (ATP) funded by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).

The ATP grant will fund a project called “Building Dinuba’s Active Transportation Future” that plans to build bicycle and pedestrian improvements throughout seven miles of roadways in the city. According to a Caltrans summary of the project, it will also involve “bike rodeos” at eight different schools to educate children on bicycle safety.

The project will involve the implementation of class two bike lanes, class four separated bike lanes, ADA sidewalk improvements, pedestrian signals and shortened crosswalks on some of the city’s busiest roads. Planning and design work is expected to finish in August 2025 and construction is expected to be complete in July 2027.

Other capital projects budgeted for fiscal year 2024-25 include $3 million for the construction of a new well, more than $7 million for the new Viscaya Park, $2.7 million for the Sierra Way sewer main and $4 million for roadway improvements along Kamm Avenue, College Avenue and El Monte Way.

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