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City Scene: Folsom's financial report generates optimism

By: Evert Palmer, Folsom City Manager, Special to the Telegraph
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While economic recovery on the state and national level remains somewhat elusive, we are seeing positive indicators in our local economy that bring hope to an optimist like me. 

Chief Financial Officer Jim Francis shared some good news when presenting the Fiscal Year 2012-13 First Quarter Financial Report at last week’s City Council meeting. He pointed out the city ended the previous fiscal year in the black, with no use of the city’s “rainy day” funds.

He also noted local sales tax revenues are up, and the local housing market is heating up and median sales prices are rising. Home sales activity in Folsom in fiscal year 2012 increased over the previous year by 25 percent. Permits for single family residences are significantly up.

Our current economic projections continue to predict gradual improvement in economic growth in the coming year. 

Folsom’s unemployment rate remains among the lowest in the region at 4.9 percent. Business travel is up, as indicated by an increase in Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) receipts. New businesses are opening all over town.

There is no denying that economic circumstances over the past six years have been the most difficult since the great depression.

The economy remains sluggish and there are more challenges ahead. In response, we reduced spending, reorganized service delivery, and in a few cases, increased fees. The city’s fiscally responsible accumulation of “rainy day” reserves, and our prudent use of those reserves in years past, has put us in the position to preserve our quality of life and shield our residents from draconian service reductions — a painful reality that so many other California cities are facing.

Folsom’s outstanding quality of life is widely recognized in the region and beyond. Our community is viewed as a very desirable place to live.
We have all the ingredients that make a great city including well maintained neighborhoods, excellent schools, a solid employment base, beautiful natural amenities, outstanding City services and a spirit of community that is uniquely Folsom. We remain committed to prudent fiscal planning while maintaining the integrity of programs and services that are highly valued by our residents.

As we look ahead, we are hopeful that increasing consumer confidence will translate to a financially successful holiday season for Folsom retailers and restaurants. You can help by supporting our local merchants.

Shopping local protects jobs for your friends and family, while also generating revenue for city services. One penny of every taxable dollar spent in Folsom goes directly in the city’s general fund. Those pennies add up to millions of dollars that are re-invested in our community in support of services such as police and fire; parks and the library; aquatic center and zoo; and senior and arts programs.

Please join me in choosing to make planned purchases in Folsom rather than in surrounding communities. Folsom has abundant and diverse shopping options ranging from the quaint shops and galleries in the Historic District; to the bargain-laden big box stores and Folsom Premium Outlets; and the new businesses at Palladio and the Central Business District.

Together we can help preserve Folsom’s enviable quality of life for the benefit of all.  I welcome your comments at epalmer@folsom.ca.us.

Evert Palmer is the city manager for Folsom. His column, City Scene, publishes the last Wednesday of every month.