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City Financial Moves Top Council Agenda
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Loans and assessments were among the main topics for Riverbank City Council members at their Monday meeting, Nov. 26, and the council voted unanimously on a couple of finance-related items.

By a 4-0 vote, with councilman Jesse James White not in attendance, the council agreed to pay more than $98,000 to the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District. The total is in assessments and penalties over delinquent fire assessments on Riverbank Housing Authority properties. Originally, the fire district billed the city for over $120,000 but agreed to lower the total in hopes of getting repaid. The levies date back several years on nine different Housing Authority properties, said officials, and the assessments were not paid originally because the authority thought it was exempt from the assessments. Under the agreement reached, and approved by the council, half of the money will be paid to the fire district next month and half will be postponed until a payment date set for next year.

City Finance Director Marisela Hernandez reported to the council that the payment will come from the city's general fund reserve. Though it leaves the city with less than the preferred 10 percent reserve, officials agreed the split payment plan was desired over a one-time payment, which would have dropped the city coffers even lower.

Also approved, and giving the city a break on finances, was the agreement with Stanislaus County to add two years to the repayment period for a $500,000 loan the city received from the Stanislaus County Economic Development Bank in 2008. The money was for the ongoing downtown beautification and was slated to be paid off by the end of the 2013-14 fiscal year. Stanislaus County officials approved the extension through 2016, with the addition of an additional 1 percent interest charge on the balance. The council agreed to those terms Monday night.