VISTA — The city had a strong financial fiscal year in 2018-19, netting a $4.5 million surplus and giving the City Council some room to address other areas such as its General Fund reserve account.
Vista Treasurer Mike Sylvia reported the good news to the council during its Nov. 12 meeting, covering the 2018-19 fourth quarter financial report.
He said the city’s main revenue sources are property and sales taxes, which increased by 2.7% and 2%, respectively, Sylvia said. The final amounts received for the year for property tax revenues totaled $23,190,885 or 2.7% above budget projections.
For the 2018-19 fiscal year, actual sales tax receipts also exceeded projections by 2%. However, the total was a 3.2% decrease ($18,081,904) when compared to the prior fiscal year ($18,691,650), according to the staff report. The decline is primarily due to the loss of a single business, which was not named, which contributed a large portion of sales tax revenues.
One goal for the council has been to increase its General Fund reserve account to 35%, and each year the council has steadily climbed the ladder. Councilwoman Amanda Rigby said the city’s reserve account was “in the single digits” after she was first elected.
Now, the account has $23.6 million, or 31%, after the council approved more than $1.8 million be directed to reserves.
“We are in a good position and are steadily increasing our reserves,” Rigby said. “This is money our taxpayers have worked very, very hard to earn for us.”
Councilman John Franklin said the city’s upward trajectory has it in good position for when the next economic downturn hits. General Fund expenditures projections for all city departments came in under budget, Sylvia said.
“I fully advocate that we continue to go down the road we are so when the rainy day comes, we’re prepared,” he added. “I think we all want to end the year with a surplus.”
Outside revenue sources totaled $86,780,197, Sylvia said, with a total of $88,264,042 available to the General Fund. Still, City Manager Patrick Johnson said there are other revenue increases and will be evaluated next quarter.
“We will make a request to increase those revenues,” he added.
The valuation of building permits issued in Vista (July 2018 through June 2019) for residential units totaled $121,187,885 for 634 residential units, as compared to the prior year of $31,635,392 for 241 residential units.
The valuation of building permits issued for new non-residential buildings totaled $13,683,292 for 24 buildings for the fiscal year. This is compared to $8,447,531 for 36 buildings for the same period last year.
As of June 2019, the city of Vista’s labor force was 45,106 with 43,467 employed, giving Vista an unemployment rate of 3.6%. In June 2018, the Vista unemployment rate was 3.9%.
Single Family Detached (SFD) median home prices in Vista zip codes increased 1.6% in June 2019 to $558,750, compared to $550,000 in June 2018. Single Family Attached (SFA) median home prices in Vista zip codes increased 9.7% to $364,000 in June 2019 compared to $331,750 in June 2018.