When it comes to the budget and financing of the city of Porterville, City Manager John Lollis summed it up like this:
“A lot of large projects that are beginning processes or are in various stages,” he said.
Lollis made that statement as he gave a summary of the 2021-2022 budget for the day-to-day operations of the city and the many projects in the city at Tuesday's Porterville City Council meeting. The City Council approved a motion to hold a public hearing at its June 15 meeting when it comes to the budget.
The City will receive a great deal of help from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan as the City of Porterville will receive $19.98 million from the American Rescue Plan. The council has set priorities for how that money will be used which include water and sewer, broadband and technology infrastructure, providing assistance for the homeless, providing assistance to local businesses with an emphasis on helping restaurants and public safety. The city has set aside $2 million from the American Rescue Plan for public safety.
When it comes to the city's roads, fixing them and maintaining them continues to be a major undertaking. There's close to $50 million in road projects that are currently underway or are being designed in the city.
There will be nearly $22 million in road construction projects in the city in the coming year with another $26.5 million being designed. And Lollis said that doesn't count all the utilities that go along with the projects, including purple pipe for recycled water.
The biggest project that's now entering the design phase is the Morton construction project. Major work in Morton is set to begin in 2023-2024 and Lollis said that project will cost $30 to $40 million. “We call it the monster,” Lollis said.
When it comes to water, it will cost the city $60 million to meet the tertiary water treatment needs for recycled water in the city. The City Council has approved $36 million in Certificates of Participation to help finance tertiary water treatment projects.
In addition the city will receive $10.5 million in state funding toward tertiary water treatment projects. The biggest project is the $17 million tertiary water treatment plant as part of the Eagle Mountain Casino relocation.
Eagle Mountain Casino is scheduled to open near the Porterville Municipal Airport in the fall, 2022. The city will pay two-thirds of the $17 million for the tertiary water treatment plant and the Tule River Tribe will pay one-third.
The development of the interim library to replace the Porterville Public Library that was destroyed in the February 18, 2020 fire that killed Porterville Fire Captaiin Ray Figueroa and Firefighter Patrick Jones will cost $1.34 million and will come from library proceeds. The city has entered into a 6-year lease for the library to be located in an 8,000-square foot space next to Grocery Outlet on D Street/Olive Avenue. The temporary library will open sometime in 2021.
The city will also have an electric vehicle mobile library funded by a state library grant award.There has been $4.85 million set aside for library purposes that comes from library insurance proceeds.
As a result of the library fire, a Serious Accident Review Team determined the Porterville Fire Department was understaffed. The fire department will hire an additional six firefighters as recommended by the SART team.
It was also determined one fire chief was not enough to oversee the administration and operations of the fire department. Lollis announced on Tuesday battalion chief Bryan Cogburn has been appointed by Fire Chief Dave LaPere as deputy fire chief to oversee the operations of the department.
Among the other proposals for the coming year is the purchase of three more electric buses.
As far as its day-to-day operating budget, the city expects its total tax revenue to be $29.52 million in 2021-2022. Expenses are projected to be more than $31.3 million.
But with the addition of an expected $2 million in state and federal revenue, the city actually projects a small surplus of $181,308. The city will also be able to fully fund its emergency reserves at $7.1 million.
The City Council approved the Porterville Fair to be held from July 8-11. A scaled back fair will be held with vendors that will only be allowed to set up outdoors.
The Eagles Lodge will also provide a beer garden in which only beer and wine will be sold. The fair will also feature amusement rides, games and concessions provided by Butler Amusements.
As part of approving the consent calendar, the council approved certifying the city population as 59,571 as determined and recently announced by the State Department of Finance. The city population increased by 80 over the past year.