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Cloverdale mayor says budget is top priority

With barely $60,000 in reserves, Cloverdale needs to get its fiscal house in order, newly named Mayor Joe Palla says.

In the coming year, he said the top priority should be the city's budget.

"We need basically to look at a long-term plan. We are pretty much living year to year. We need to look at a two- to five-year window," he said.

Cloverdale's $4.9 million general fund is supposed to have a reserve of 25 percent, or about $1.2 million, according to city guidelines.

But for a number of years, there has been virtually no cushion. And with a $1 million general fund deficit predicted in five years, Palla said something needs to be done.

City staff, now at 39 employees, has been trimmed by 25 percent in the past five years.

"We're down to a skeleton crew," he said.

While there has been previous talk of increasing revenues with a possible sales tax increase, or reinstituting a city utility user's tax, Palla is not pressing for a tax hike.

Instead he wants to take a broad look, probably in a series of public workshops, at ways to decrease expenditures or increase revenues.

"It's important to include the community as best we can. There's a lot they can bring to the table we may not be aware of, or thinking about," he said.

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