Burlingame budget expected to expand

The city’s general fund revenues are expected to grow 5 percent for the next fiscal year, as city officials say it will be the first time in five years they will be able to put money aside for future capital improvement projects.

Revenues will climb to $42.6 million, up from $41.3 million last year and $31.1 million in the 2002 fiscal year, when the economy reached its lowest point during the dot-com bust.

Revenues will be the highest since 1999, “which was a watermark year prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and subsequent recession,” according to City Manager Jim Nantell, in a report to the city council. The council will review the proposed budget this week.

“Our revenue is slowly making headway,” Nantell said, who added that city officials may use the revenue for improvement projects such as street resurfacing and facility and parks maintenance.

The city’s main revenue sources are property, sales and hotel occupancy taxes, all of which are rising.

Sales tax revenue is projected to reach $10 million, up from $9.4 million last year and $8.9 million the previous year. Car sales from the city’s extensive auto row make up 45 percent of sales tax revenue.

Revenue from the major hotels along the bay side is $10.6 million, up from $10.1 million last year and $6.7 million in 2002.

David Lewin, general manager of Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, said hotel rates are rising but occupancy rates remain “flat.” However, he added, clientele that once came from Silicon Valley in the past have been replaced by an array of travelers and convention attendees.

The City Council will be conducting a budget study session at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Burlingame Public Library, 480 Primrose Road. At the meeting, city department heads are expected to present their projected expenditures. Nantell said the council may formally approve the budget at the June 18 council meeting.

bfoley@examiner.com

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