State auditors meet with Campbell officials
By Graig Graziosi
Fears that the city is headed for fiscal emergency have been eased, at least for now.
During a meeting with state auditors Monday, Campbell City Council and the city’s administrators learned the city isn’t on an inescapable path toward fiscal emergency, but it could be if department spending isn’t strictly controlled.
As of May 31, the city’s general budget is $97,502.
Yianni Tiliakos, Campbell’s finance director, said the city is still in deficit spending, but believes that with up-to-date financial information, the council and administration will have the tools needed to right the ship.
“Now that we have our numbers caught up and have talked to the auditors, the council will have the information they need to look at where spending is going over – whether its wages or overtime or anything else – and tell me, ‘Hey, you need to watch this or that,’” Tiliakos said. “Campbell’s problem has always been overspending, and it’s because we’ve always been behind in our recording. Comparative to past years, 2020 is going to be a very accurate budget.”
Council President George Levendis said that the council would continue to encourage city department heads to find ways to save money moving forward. “Our general fund is still weak, but if we stay on course and every department follows their budget, it looks like we’ll be fine.”
Levendis also noted that the city’s income tax has remained steady for the past several years despite regional population loss and the continually increasing average age of residents.
“It’s a good thing. It means people are either working or they’re making more money. I think more people are working,” Levendis said.
City council has been hesitant to make some financial decisions in the weeks preceding the meeting with the auditors because it did not have up-to-date financial information.
At the council’s last regular meeting, Councilwoman Juanita Rich, D-4th, voted against an ordinance that would eliminate a sergeant’s position from the police department, saving the city approximately $16,000 a year, citing concerns that it would disincentivize officers to stay with the city’s department. She said she wanted to wait until she could see more financial details before she’d support the measure.