Balanced $815 million budget includes cuts in all departments and various services
Published : Tuesday, June 19, 2018 | 4:58 AM
The Pasadena City Council Monday unanimously approved the City’s 2019 fiscal year Budget. The new $815 million budget is balanced but represents substantial reductions, concluding months of staff and committee meetings as well as public hearings.
According to the staff presentation by Finance Director Matthew Hawkesworth the budget will also increase recommended revenues in the Library Special Tax Fund by $108,431, as well as reduce recommended revenues in the Water Fund by $1 .7 million, based on projected retail sales.
Among the recommendations were the de-funding, but retention of, five Police Officer positions recommended for reduction, which will keep the positions as listed in the budget but unfunded until the revenue is available.
The Council also adopted a resolution determining that the amount to be transferred from the City’s Light and Power Fund to the General Fund for Fiscal Year 2019 is 10 percent of gross revenues from retail sales.
The budget directs the City Attorney to prepare an amendment to Pasadena Municipal Code Section 2.268.020, moving responsibility for the Foothill Workforce Development Board to the City Manager’s Office, from the Housing Department.
City Manager Steve Mermell had proposed eliminating 14 jobs but the Council disagreed with two of the job cuts, including a Battalion Chief, representing nearly $250,000 in costs. With its vote, the Council directed Mermell to look elsewhere for those cost reductions.
“We told him, ‘You have to find other ways to cut that $400 grand,’” Mayor Tornek said after the meeting.
Mermell told the Council he would return in August with an adjusted budget plan.
Mermell had originally submitted the Recommended Fiscal Year(FY) 2019 Operating Budget on May 7. That starts a series of public hearings which systematically opens each section of the budget to Council examination.
In addition to the City’s anticipated operating revenues and expenses, the Fiscal Year 2019 Recommended Budget also includes the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations for the FY 2019-2023 Capital Improvement Plan, which was adopted by the City Council on May 7, 2018 along with the City’s affiliated agencies—The Rose Bowl Operating Company, The Pasadena Center Operating Company, and The Pasadena Community Access Corporation.
The Finance Committee and the City Council then conducted four joint meetings to consider the recommended budget on May 14; May 21; June 4; and June 11 , 2018, recommended operating budgets for City departments and affiliated agencies were discussed.
According to the Finance Department staff report, “The Recommended FY 2019 Operating Budget addresses the City Council’s strategic goal to maintain fiscal stability and to address aging infrastructure, unfunded liabilities, and maintain adequate reserves.
The report also noted that the staff has identified $500,000 in projected new Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenues associated with the approval of land-use regulations for short-term rentals to balance the General Fund Operating Budget for the upcoming fiscal year,
Another $732,000 in the budget represents a reduction in debt service payments which off a prior financing, along with the shifting of the costs from the General Fund to other funds where the expenses are “more appropriate,” said the staff report.
Given the City’s known General Fund budget gap projected to last over the next five fiscal years, departmental budget reductions totaling $2.349,000 were made, including defunding Police Officer positions.
While each of the positions is currently vacant, various departments will eliminate the following positions— City Attorney’s office, one deputy city attorney; City Manager’s office, one Management Analyst IV, and the reduction of business support resources for economic development. The Fire Department would eliminate one Office Assistant
In addition, Human Resources will reduce its printing budget; Human Services & Recreation will eliminate one Community Service Representative Ill, and reduce hours for an Adaptive Recreation Specialist, as well as reduce support for community events.
The Police Department will eliminate 3.0 Park Security Rangers. Public Works will eliminate one HVAC Technician, and reduce contract services as well as its materials and supply budget.
Those total cuts represent $3,581,087 in reductions, according to the staff report.