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Sunnyside spending ahead of 2011's pace

Progress seen in jai revenue shortfall

Budget concerns from 2011 are continuing into 2012, as through the end of February the city of Sunnyside has spent $200,000 more than it did during the first two months of 2011.

That's according to Byron Olson, the city's CFO and deputy city manager, who last week published a financial update.

Olson said the uptick in spending is due to factors such as a one-time expense for a new street sweeper partially funded by a grant.

In addition, he noted police spending is up through the early part of the year compared to 2011 due to the addition of a crime analyst and two new police officers.

In January 2012, the most recent figures available, law enforcement spending was $329,467 compared to $259,177 for January 2011.

Olson said the city's tax revenues have experienced a slight increase for the first part of 2012. Total general fund tax revenue for January 2012 was $404,237, compared to $388,088 for January 2011.

The general fund accounts for much of the city's day-to-day operational costs.

He noted the city's general fund revenues arrive in lump sums rather than incrementally each month. Half of property tax revenues are received in May and the other half in November.

In addition to a slight uptick in tax revenue, Olson said another positive sign is that jail spending is down about $16,000 through the first two months of 2012 compared to the same time frame in 2011.

In related good news, the Sunnyside jail income for January 2012 was $63,054, about $10,000 more than was received in January 2011.

Savings and increased revenue for the jail, even by a small amount, are good news for Sunnyside as in 2011 the city experienced a jail revenue shortfall of about $400,000.

In last week's financial update for January and February 2012, Olson sounded a note of caution looking ahead into the rest of the year.

"As we move forward in the year, significant focus will be needed on implementing savings in the general fund as well as consideration of additional revenue to bring on-going operational costs in line with on-going operating revenue," Olson stated.

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