The Cosumnes Community Services District (CSD) canceled their recreation programs and closed their recreation buildings this March, in response to the growing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in California.
This district is now facing a $2.3 million shortfall in their current, 2019-20 budget, due to losses in recreation revenues.
The CSD board reviewed a third-quarter report on their current budget, and they also approved a few district improvement projects during their May 6 meeting. They govern Elk Grove’s parks and recreation system as well as the Cosumnes Fire Department, which provides fire protective services to both Galt and Elk Grove.
Nitish Sharma, the CSD’s chief administrative officer, told the board that they can offset their $2.3 million shortfall by considering funds such as $700,000 in cost-cutting savings, and a $425,000 carryover balance from last year’s budget.
He also announced that the CSD is expected $702,000 in funds from the CARES Act. That is a $2 trillion federal relief package that’s designed to aid state and local governments that are financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Once it’s cleared, then we’ll use this revenue to mitigate any shortfall,” Sharma said about the CARES funds.
The CSD currently has $3.3 million set aside in a revenue stabilization reserve, and Sharma said that the board has the option of spending $1.3 million from that fund to offset the shortfall.
He also said there are plans to cut costs by eliminating travel to conferences and suspending purchases that are not related to health and safety.
Sharma noted that most of the CSD’s revenues come from property tax and ambulance revenues, unlike cities that draw much of their revenues from sales tax revenues. He said that the CSD’s tax revenues are currently trending according to their budget plan.
The district’s current fiscal year budget was planned to expect $49 million in property tax revenues and $13 million in ambulance revenues. Property taxes are collected from landowners in Elk Grove and Galt.
“This (property tax) revenue will change in the next few years if the economy is experiencing a slight downturn,” Sharma said.
After the board reviewed the budget report, they approved projects such as spending $313,000 on improving the CSD staff’s computer network speed, and purchasing a $137,700 electronic records management system that would eliminate the need for storing paper documents.
CSD General Manager Joshua Green said that the administrative staff is now trying to improve their office workflow during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He mentioned the 2018 Sacramento Grand Jury report that advised the district to recreate financial records that were lost in a massive fire that destroyed the CSD’s administration building in 2015. These files were documents of Quimby fees that were collected for the Macdonald Park project.
“The biggest wakeup call was the fire and having us reproduce manual files,” Green said. “From a worker’s standpoint, it also will make some of our administrative folks’ jobs a bit easier.”
The CSD staff plans to fund their $137,700 purchase of a Laserfiche Electronic Records Management System by using carryover funds from last year’s district budget, and they will also use the current budget to cover an estimated $44,000 in ongoing costs.
“Although I don’t like spending the money now – I’m thinking we’re in this pandemic budget and I don’t like it – you pretty much convinced me it’s a necessity,” CSD Director Jim Luttrell said about the records-keeping project.