LONG BEACH - After years of juggling deficits, the city's general fund ended last fiscal year with a $500,000 surplus.
A report released this week attributed the surplus to a mid-year budget adjustment as the city reacted to an unexpected decline in revenue, as well as better-than-expected tax collections that pushed general fund receipts to $397.4 million for the year ending Sept. 30.
Fiscal planners said the seemingly rosy news following a decade of more than $200 million in cuts shouldn't lead to a spending spree.
When a budget is hundreds of millions of dollars, even six figures can vanish as economic winds blow, said Budget Performance Management Bureau Director Dennis Strachota.
"We don't want to get in a situation where we're doing continuous budgeting as resources become available," he said.
A $10.9 million general fund deficit was projected for 2014 during last year's budgeting process.
The prediction was given before the city's largest employee union agreed last month to a pension reform package that is expected to save $3.8 million in the general fund annually.
According to Strachota, last year's budget performance indicates that revenues have stabilized and show more predictability than recent years.
"I think that provides us with at least some certainty, a more positive outlook," said Strachota.
The general fund represents less than 10 percent of the city's budget but pays
The 2014 fiscal year budget will be released in August, and the new fiscal year will begin Oct. 1.