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Fiscal Snapshot Department Budgets Under Scrutiny
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Riverbank's Police Department goals and objectives are partnering with the community, working with the chamber of commerce, pursuing city beautification and putting on events such as National Night Out and Shop with a Cop, Police Chief Bill Pooley told the Riverbank City Council in a brief address at a recent budget workshop. Pooley was one of several department heads making a report to council members as work continues on the spending plan for next fiscal year.

Estimated expenditures for 2010-2011 will drop to $3,292,491 for a 4.1 percent decrease on the $3,433,275 budget of 2009-2010, he noted.

Other department goals, he added, are proactive enforcement and education.

The proactive enforcement will include four large-scale probation and parole sweeps per year, bringing the CITE program to Riverbank, continued driving under the influence checkpoints and directed patrols.

Education will concentrate on taking an active role in the teen center operation and giving presentations to schools on gang awareness and graffiti prevention.

Community Development Director J.D. Hightower said the Code Compliance Division budget would climb by 69 percent from $101,933 to $172,454. That increase includes the amended contract with the City of Oakdale for animal services that is working well and costing far less than the previous contract with Stanislaus County.

The Planning Division budget will increase by 2 percent to $275,477 and the Building Division budget drop by 16 percent to $47,580.

The Department's goals, Hightower indicated in his report to council, encourage smart growth, protect and expand accessibility within the city; launch "a city beautiful" movement; and build a "Riverbank of tomorrow."

Encouraging smart growth includes collecting system development fees at the time of annexation on a per acre basis, evaluating all development fees together, resolving North County Corridor issues in Riverbank's favor and representing its interests in the Valley Blueprint and Stanislaus Sustainable Communities programs.

Protecting accessibility covers developing "green prints" for the community and river corridors, improving aid to the disabled facilities and securing Prop 84 planning grants.

City Beautiful will include Spring Clean type projects, coordinated code enforcement with the Sheriff's Office, and working with Public Works on civil enhancement projects such as city entry features and Oakdale Road landscaping.

Building for tomorrow will include starting annexation of the Bosio property at the northwest corner of Oakdale and Claribel roads, finishing subdivisions and beginning the plan check and inspection of the seniors' affordable project, delivering a higher quality of service with a smaller staff and developing green building standards.

Speaking for the Economic Development and Housing Department, Debbie Olson said its expenditure budget is expected to fall from $438,216 to $233,450 for a 46.73 percent decrease. But that does not include the Department's work with the former Army ammunition plant now being converted to an industrial park that is mainly financed by $3 million in grants.

Within the city's center, the Department will work on phase three of the downtown beautification project from Atchison to Topeka streets, the downtown specific plan and environmental impact report, conversion of the former cannery to a residential, retail and entertainment center, downtown marketing campaign, a business improvement district formation, and use of the Del Rio Theater and former Reed's Garage.

Other projects include a small business loan program, enterprise zone marketing and education seminars, procuring federal and state grants, support of events like a second Economic Summit, third Blues and Bibs, third Sweetheart Stroll and various events in the Plaza del Rio.

More goals cover construction of federally funded (HOME) senior apartments on Orange Avenue, a first-time homebuyer program, a home rehabilitation project, and business incubator planning and development.

For the new industrial park, the department will reorganize the Local Redevelopment Agency, work on a specific plan and EIR, facilitate conveyance of the property, make lease arrangements with existing and prospective tenants, complete an environmental clean-up agreement and rehabilitate existing structures.

The city budget for fiscal year 2010-2011, once finalized and adopted by the council, will take effect July 1.