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Budget Talks to Ramp up This Week

Published on Monday, June 7, 2021 | 5:00 am

Public hearings on the city’s budget for the coming fiscal year will be ramping up this week with special meetings scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

First, at 1:30 p.m Monday in a meeting listed as a joint session with the members of the council’s Finance Committee and the City Council, presentations on budgets for the Police Department, parks and recreations and community services, the city’s libraries, transportation, the Pasadena Center Operating Co. and the city’s Community Access Corp. will be heard.

The proposed operating budget — including city-affiliated agencies and the city’s capital improvement projects — came in at $897.8 million, exactly $20 million more than the last fiscal year’s adopted budget.

The recommended Fiscal Year 2022 operating budget includes $286.7 million in appropriations from the general fund.

14.85 fewer full-time employees are proposed in the budget plan.

“The city of Pasadena’s Charter, Section 902 requires that the annual operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year be submitted to the City Council on or before the third Monday in May,” according to the staff report.

Some local critics want the council to reduce funding for police, or defund the department.

“The proposed 2022 FY Operating Budget shows that the Police Department will receive over $84 million from the General Fund,” wrote local housing activist Sonja Berndt. “The General Fund is critical, of course, because it funds services for all of our residents without the restrictions of special funds. In contrast, I have been informed by the City that of the $40.7 million recommended in the FY 2022 Housing Department Budget, only about $1.5 million is funded by the General Fund. How can this huge disparity be justified?

“While the Housing Department receives funding from the state and federal governments, such funding is not assured. More importantly, the state and federal funding our Housing Department receives is far short of what our City actually needs to provide critical services to our most vulnerable residents,” Berndt wrote.

At 4 p.m. Tuesday, the City Council will meet in a special meeting to discuss the Rose Bowl Operating Co. budget.

As expected, the impacts of COVID-19 will affect the budget, which assumes that the city’s general fund will be needed to fund $10 million of the $12.5 million annual debt service obligation associated with the Rose Bowl, with the Rose Bowl Operating Co. making up the remaining $2.5 million.

The Rose Bowl lost millions of dollars in revenues when the iconic stadium was forced to close during the pandemic.

As part of the approval of the 2022 fiscal year budget, the city will assume the Rose Bowl’s $11.5 bond service debt.

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