City Council Selects District Map and Approves Two-Year Budget

Citrus Heights, CA (MPG)  |  Story by Shaunna Boyd

CITRUS HEIGHT, CA (MPG) - At the June 13 meeting, the Citrus Height City Council held the fourth public hearing regarding the transition to district-based elections and selected the final district map. Councilmembers analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of four focus maps: 102, 104, 104B, and 109.

Maps 104, 104B, and 109 put each Councilmember in their own district. Map 102, however, would create a vacant district while putting Vice Mayor Jeff Slowey and Councilmember Bret Daniels in the same district.

During public comment, Citrus Heights resident Kathy Morris voiced her support for Map 104, stating that it felt like a “neighborhood map.” Morris said it is important to keep neighborhoods together: “People that work together and live together feel strongly about being a part of the same community.” Morris was opposed to Map 104B and to Map 109: “To me, those do not feel like neighborhood maps, they feel like political maps.”

Vice Mayor Slowey stated his opposition to the layout of Map 109 and requested it be removed from the discussion; the Council agreed.

Councilmember Daniels said the district map should represent the people of the city, and he expressed concern about Map 104 because of a large disparity in voter turnout between two of the districts. Councilmember Daniels said he opposed Map 104 and would prefer Maps 104B or 102.

Councilmember Steve Miller concurred with Councilmember Daniels, with a preference for Map 104B because the layout created a central district bordering all the others.

Councilmember Porsche Middleton also favored Map 104B’s layout:  “We’re trying to maintain some continuity, so even though we’ll be in separate districts, it would be nice to have a central district. … “We’re all still part of the same team; it gives you a feeling of cohesiveness.”

Mayor Jeannie Bruins strongly favored Map 102. “It’s important for each district to have a fair [share] of businesses in their district, and Map 102 is the only map that does that. … I think for us all to be able to buy in to what’s going on in our business community as a whole that each of the districts needs to have a fair portion of the business district.”

Councilmember Daniels agreed: “Business comes into politics quite a bit, and the business community can be very demanding on elected officials, and so spreading that out a little bit, I think, is a good idea.”

Vice Mayor Slowey recommended that the Council move forward with Map 102 as the final district map. Mayor Bruins called for a vote and it was unanimously approved.

Mayor Bruins acknowledged the importance of the vote and thanked her fellow Councilmembers. “This has been an arduous process, and one that none of us wanted to undertake,” she said. “It’s what we needed to do, and I think we’ve done the best job we could.” Mayor Bruins also reminded everyone that the district boundaries will have to be adjusted in a couple years after the 2020 census data is released.

The Council also approved the City’s first two-year budget, for fiscal years 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. Ronda Rivera, assistant city manager, explained that the City will be facing a number of fiscal challenges in the next several years: “We’ve now entered the crossover period, where revenues will not be sufficient to cover operating and capital costs. This situation has long been anticipated due to the Revenue Neutrality agreement with Sacramento County, which provides that the City will receive no property tax revenue until fiscal year 2022-2023.”

Rivera said, “Expenditures are expected to be more than revenues, creating a deficit in each of the next three fiscal years, beginning in 2019-2020.” For fiscal year 2019-2020, expected revenues total $56.3 million while expected expenditures total $62.2 million. In November 2018, the Council authorized a short-term line of credit to address the funding gap over the next several years. But even with the line of credit, the City will still need to use some of the Reserve Funds to cover costs.

The City will begin repaying the line of credit when Revenue Neutrality ends and they start receiving property taxes in 2022-2023. The final payment will be due in 2024-2025.