What Happens if We Don’t Act Now?

Revenue Problem

(Slide source: City Manager presentation to Folsom City Council, 10-24-23)

The city is not immune to inflation. Fuel, materials and vendors all cost more – even keeping services at current levels in the future won’t be possible as costs keep going up. Folsom doesn’t have a spending problem – it has a revenue problem that is projected to get worse every year. Without a new revenue source the city must reduce services even further to balance future budgets.

  • Public safety is jeopardized. None of us want a future where our police and fire departments lack the resources, training and equipment they need to serve our city.

The Folsom Police Department responded to 10,904 calls for service between October 1 and December 31, 2023, up 11% from 9,809 calls during the same quarter in 2022. Annually, total calls rose by 6,000 calls, up 15% from 38,212 in 2022 to 44,050 in 2023.

Folsom Takes Action - Increase in Calls 2022-2023 Folsom PD
  • Property values are impacted. Strong property values in Folsom rely on having a safe community, good parks and libraries, and well-maintained streets and roads. This measure will preserve or enhance vital services that keep our property values high.
  • We deplete our emergency reserves. Smart planning for a “rainy day fund” saved us during the Great Recession that began in 2008 and the COVID pandemic. The city still has a reserve fund, but it’s already dangerously close to the minimum recommended. If we use the reserve now, there is no money in the pipeline to replace it, or for emergencies – all but ensuring catastrophic cuts to services when there’s another downturn.  That is not responsible planning.
  • Solutions to reduce traffic and repair roads go unfunded. Streets are rough and deteriorating, potholes increase, safety decreases, congestion increases… with no ability to address the ever-worsening problems.
Unsafe for cyclists and storm drainage
  • Parks and playgrounds fall further into disrepair with no funds available to maintain or replace them. Our facilities, parks and trails are aging out.  Already today, Folsom has more than $7 million in “deferred” park maintenance – repairs and improvements that are needed, but can’t be funded.  You’ve probably seen evidence of this for yourself — and the problem will only get worse without a funding solution.
Parks - Cummings Family Park court failure
  • Upgrades to our aging stormwater drainage system go unfunded, putting public and private property at risk of flooding. Street flooding also damages road surfaces, making the need for street repairs greater. Unfunded mandates by the state also put us in the crosshairs of fines or lawsuits – at taxpayer expense – without a revenue source to pay for them.
Streets - Stormwater damage
  • We fail to attract the businesses, jobs, attractions, and major projects we need to help prevent this problem from happening again. Folsom has innovative visions for  the River District and  revitalization of the Central Business District, and wants to attract high paying jobs here. Right now there is no money available in the city budget for any of these.

Unlike County or State Governments, which are primarily regulatory in nature, Folsom’s city government is a service provider. As Folsom residents, we have every reason to place high expectations on our city services to keep us safe, offer unparalleled recreation amenities, safe roads and healthy streams and rivers, help our businesses prosper, preserve property values, and enhance our quality of life.

The cost of the services we enjoy now exceeds the revenue to pay for them. If we don’t act now, those expectations won’t be met.

We’re at a point where we need to make some hard decisions about how we want to invest in our future, and to ensure revenues stay in Folsom.  By doing nothing, we all lose.