Mountain House directors settle on $7.1M budget
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Jun 14, 2013 | 2377 views | 0 0 comments | 78 78 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MOUNTAIN HOUSE — The Mountain House Community Services District Board of Directors approved a $7.1 million operating budget for fiscal year 2013-14 by a 4-1 vote on Wednesday, June 12.

Voting in opposition was Director Andy Su, who was unavailable for comment after the meeting.

With an operating deficit of about $60,000, the budget was balanced with money from the general fund, according to General Manager Janice McClintock.

She said the fund balance similar to a “general fund” is projected to be $5.9 million at the end of FY 2013, however some of that money is restricted for specific expenditures such as the rental costs for the library.

One of the biggest changes to the fiscal budget was the approval of funds to hire three full-time employees. That brings the district staff to 17.

“I’m really excited about the augmented staff,” McClintock said.

Since the staff was cut in 2009 from 23 to 14, employees have found it difficult to meet the demands of a growing community, she said.

A staff of 17 will be able to do the job, McClintock said, if they “work smart,” but more employees may have to be added in the future as the community continues to grow. She said residents will see the difference with better customer service.

Director Jim Lamb agreed with McClintock.

“We see things falling through the cracks,” he said. “Now they are doing as much or as more work than when we made the (staff) cuts.”

Also approved in the budget was a 4 percent increase for each of the four special taxes that fund public safety, roads, parks and public works.

Some of the biggest expenditures in the new budget were increases of $497,200 for staff salaries and benefits, and $201,600 for rental of the administration and library buildings.

McClintock said the district hopes to renegotiate the building rentals, which come to $40,000 per month — higher than government rentals in the city of Tracy at $23,000 per month.

An expenditure that was added at the last minute was $10,000 to audit the fire service provided by Tracy Fire Department.

McClintock said fire service accounts for 24 percent of the overall budget, while 10 percent goes toward police service from the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s office.

She said those figures are reversed in communities such as Tracy and need to be addressed in Mountain House.

McClintock said the audit should have been done on a regular basis, and she hopes to have this one completed by mid-July or early August.

After the budget vote, Lamb thanked staff members for their work on the budget, calling it “the easiest budget” he’s handled.

McClintock said a lot of the budget number crunching occurred during two directors’ workshops on May 15 and 22 at the district office, 230 S. Sterling Drive.

“I’m glad we have a budget,” she said. “One we can live with.”

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or
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