Vernon On the Right Track After Financial Woes

Vernon’s City Manager says the city is on the right track after its financial woes last year.
Joe Jarosek says he is pleased with the rebound the city has made–especially when you compare to where they were this time last year.
Budget cuts, layoffs, change of leaders; all this to get Vernon out of its more than $600,000 deficit.
“All of the drastic measures had taken place,” said Jarosek. “The city commission made those cutbacks. When I came aboard, we set some goals for ourselves to avoid this kind of thing.”
And now, those goals are becoming a reality.
The city has made several strides to a stronger financial foothold.
Last week, Jarosek says its joint account fund hit the $2 million mark.
“[It] shows how much cash flow we have. It’s an overall indicator, if you will,” Jarosek explained.
“Our main sources are the general fund and the enterprise fund, and they both feed into the joint fund,” city of Vernon’s finance director, Anne Garmon said. “When our property taxes come in in January, that has to hold us over till we get the summer bump of the water–utility billings. So it evens out, and that’s why they’re together in the joint fund.”
What this means is that now the city will have the funds to pay its bond debts and day-to-day expenditures.
But Jarosek and Garmon both agree that there is still a lot of work to be done.
“We’ve overcome our major obstacles,” Jarosek said. “Our budgets are still tight, we still don’t have a lot of money. The money that makes up the joint account still has to go back to those accounts. But once we recieve those revenues, it supplants the money that we use back to those accounts.”
“We’re meeting our tight-budget targets,” Garmon explained. “Several years of this discipline will enable our fund to grow enough where the city will be able to have a lot more flexibility.”
Jarosek says there are still major, expensive issues they will have tackle down the road, such as replacing water lines and the sewer treatment plant–both at a cost of around $11M each.
While Vernon’s finances are not completely shipshape, they believe they’ve weathered the storm, and are no longer in danger of sinking into a sea of red.

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