Council to Vote on $786 Million City Budget Tonight

Published : Monday, June 19, 2017 | 5:33 AM

The Pasadena City Council is expected to vote to adopt City Manager Steve Mermell’s final recommended budget for fiscal 2017-2018 at tonight’s Council meeting.

That document lays out planning for $786 in citywide budget appropriations, up an almost invisible increase of 2.4% over last fiscal year’s revised total.

This year’s proposal calls for a total of $694.4 million in department appropriations, including $267.9 million for Pasadena Water and Power, $78.6 million for the Pasadena Police Department, and $72.5 million for the Public Works Department.

Faced with a potential budget deficit next year, Mermell’s proposed budget eliminates 53 currently vacant City job positions from various departments to reduce costs.

The vacancies were identified last year after Mermell directed department heads to review their operation plans and look for all possible ways to save costs.

“The recommended operating budget for the 2018 General Fund is balanced, does not rely on the use of reserves and is expected to result in positive net income at the end of the year,” Mermell said in his opening presentation to the City Council early last month. “To achieve this, just over $2 million in budget reductions are being recommended, including the elimination of seven vacant positions.”

The reductions are in addition to the savings of $2.1 million made last October when the Council approved the elimination of seven other positions.

“Across all funds, the recommended operating Budget reduces expenditures by $4.5 million, and eliminates a total of 53 vacant positions,” Mermell said.

The adoption of the budget would come after a series of public hearings jointly held by the City Council and the Finance Committee, which discussed in detail the budgetary outlays of each City department and office and received comments from community stakeholders and the public over the past month.

Mermell submitted the recommended budget on May 8 in compliance with requirements set forth in the Pasadena City Charter.

On Monday night, the City Council will terminate the public hearings and move to adopt the budget resolution.

It will also likely adopt an accompanying resolution that sets aside an amount equivalent to 10 percent of the City’s Light and Power Fund to be transferred to the General Fund.

A summary of the operating budget appropriations by department showed a total recommended operating budget of $786.033 million.

Pasadena Water and Power will be getting the biggest share of the budget, almost $270 million, while the City Council administration gets the smallest share at $2.397 million. The Pasadena Police Department has an outlay of $78.66 million, while the Pasadena Fire Department has $46.55 million.

Under the 2018 budget, the City’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) will receive a $79.4 million outlay. The CIP fund will be distributed among departments and offices that have large upcoming capital expenses for 2018.

In the summary for the City Council, the City’s Department of Finance said the budget represents the City’s financial plan “and furthers the City’s mission to deliver exemplary municipal services responsive to our entire community and consistent with the City’s history, culture, and unique character.”

Since May 8, the City Council has conducted five joint meetings with the Finance Committee to consider the recommended budget. At these meetings, the operating budgets for City departments and affiliated agencies were reviewed and discussed, with department heads and office chiefs explaining their respective outlays.

Many questions and requests for additional information were posed by the City Council during the budget hearings and recorded for future reference.

On Monday, a General Fund Five-Year Financial Forecast, which continues to be the basis for determining the long-term impact of financial decisions and planning, will also be presented. The forecast reflects the increase in reserves as directed by the Council on June 12, 2017 and will be taken as a separate action item before the City Council.

Regarding fund transfers from the Light and Power Fund, the City Manager is recommending an amount over $16 million based on estimated Pasadena Water and Power gross revenues for 2018.

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