Ojai's Budget Surplus Ending

By Daryl Kelley

So much for hefty budget surpluses. After tucking away at least $500,000 each of the last several years, the city of Ojai is expected to be just $264,000 in the black for the fiscal year ending June 30. And more than $200,000 of that is excess rolled over from the previous fiscal year, making the city’s projected net surplus just $47,000 for 2008-2009 out of an $8.2 million budget. That’s well short of the $534,000 surplus officials were forecasting only eight months ago. A sharp fall in fees visitors pay to hotels — the so-called city bed tax — accounts for much of the projected decline, according to a new study the City Council was expected to consider last night. But expected drops in sales and property taxes also contributed to the new forecast. Those projections are based mostly on actual city income and spending from July 1 through Dec. 31. “The midyear budget review comes during a significant downturn in the regional, state and national economy,” wrote city manager

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