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Riverside’s 10 signs of financial health

To plan for future stability and address current responsibility, the Riverside Financial Performance and Budget Committee developed a list of 10 markers that should evaluate the status of the city’s financial health.

In their meeting this Friday, the committee will present its multi-measured diagnostic which is broken into groups beneath three questions: Can the city pay its bills now, can the city’s revenues cover its expenses and can the city pay its bills in the future?

Each of the 10 “indicators” refers to 10 different aspects of Riverside’s finances to see how the city was doing as of the end of the 2019-20 fiscal year. This includes Riverside’s trends over the previous five years and how it compares to other cities that are similar in size.

Riverside faces a structural deficit of $14.5 million and a pension-debt crisis in the billions. In response, city officials created a tightened spending plan, suspended scheduled raises and halted recruitment for 137 empty city staff positions. Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson said this resulted in $21 million in savings last year during her January State of the City Address.

In the address, she highlighted the priorities the city needs to tackle. Stabilizing Riverside’s finances was at the top of her list.

Lock Dawson said her three-pronged approach to solving the city’s financial challenges is to refinance existing city debt, create a budget stabilization effort and generate new forms of revenue by fostering existing businesses’ growth and attracting new investment.

The city is also currently utilizing Priority-Based Budgeting, a tool approved in 2020 as the preferred method of organizing the city’s budgeted items each fiscal year.

This Friday’s presentation and discussion will be held in Riverside City Hall at 3 p.m.