Finance Director Muriel Howarth-Terrell, who is in her ninth year on the job, said a $137,093 increase in planned revenues was offset by a $141,724 jump in unexpected costs.
“Really, all in all, you could say midyear was pretty much a wash,” she said. “It wasn’t that much different (than what was projected).”

A midyear budget review presented to the Mount Shasta City Council on Monday found no surprises with the general fund, including the continued maintenance of a healthy contingency reserve.

Finance Director Muriel Howarth-Terrell, who is in her ninth year on the job, said a $137,093 increase in planned revenues was offset by a $141,724 jump in unexpected costs.

“Really, all in all, you could say midyear was pretty much a wash,” she said. “It wasn’t that much different (than what was projected).”

Among the sources of unexpected revenue were a one-time reimbursement for the use of city fire equipment last summer, grants for fire and police personnel and an additional $17,000 in TOT revenue.

The TOT funds, which are the third largest source of local financing following property tax and sales tax, reflect an increase in the number of hotel guests, or “beds and heads” as it is popularly called. The Mount Shasta Ski Park being open for Christmas and having a good snow year has a ripple effect throughout the entire economy, Howarth-Terrell said.

“It certainly helps a lot that the Ski Park is going particularly if it is over holidays like President’s Day,” she said. “Filling the motels with skiers is good,” she added “but our summer months far outweigh the winter months by leaps and bounds.”

For the midyear budget, which is based on a fiscal year, a one-time transfer of $75,000 for future major equipment purchases was set aside. Whether the money will be used to buy a specific piece of equipment or will be part of a larger purchase like a $350,000 snow plow is still to be decided.

But that still leaves a contingency fund of $1,043,653, or 26.85% of the overall budget. That percentage is considered healthy by state standards.

City Councilman John Stackfleth was especially optimistic about the data in the report, calling city coffers “remarkably strong.” A clean audit of city finances recently completed by the accounting firm of Aiello, Goodrich and Teuscher was accepted by the council in a unanimous vote.

“I was very pleased with the audit and the overall financial health of the city,” Stackfleth said. He added that given some of the projected business openings that are about to occur in town he felt the Council could “build an even better reserve.”

In addition to current budget needs, the Council also looked at how to fund future large capital improvement projects. By creating the Mount Shasta Public Financing Authority in a unanimous vote, the City will have an entity that can issue revenue bonds and participate in future financings.

City Manager Bruce Pope said among the savings by the formation of such a non-profit agency run by the City Council would be lower interest rates on the cost of borrowed money. It would also make the entire process simple and cleaner.

Capital improvement projects currently in the planning stages are a new downtown sewer collection system, improvements to the wastewater treatment plant, a $3 million solar development and the Landing property. All will need long term, tax-exempt financing, Pope said.