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Council Adopts 2023 Budget, But Not Before Rose Bowl Finances Take Center Stage

Published on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 | 6:05 am
 

The Rose Bowl budget continued to be a bone of contention for one Councilmember on Monday en route to a successful 6-1 City Council vote to adopt by resolution the $955 million Fiscal Year 2023 Operating Budget.

“I’m not comfortable approving the Rose Bowl’s budget,” said Councilmember Felicia Williams. “I think the problem is the Rose Bowl task force was supposed to take a deep dive into the Rose Bowl’s finances last year and they never had that meeting.”

Williams questioned a tax on event tickets, which is supposed to go to the General Fund. According to Williams, she could not find a line item detailing the tax. Williams said a previous City Manager agreed to a verbal deal allowing the Rose Bowl Operating Company to keep the proceeds of the tax, which is supposed to go into the General Fund. 

“We are by no means hiding anything and we want to show everything out there,” said Jens Weiden, who will soon take over as the General Manager of the stadium.

Williams sat on the RBOC Board from 2014-2017. According to Mayor Victor Gordo, Williams was frequently absent when many of the issues she bought up were discussed. 

“You had opportunities to discuss these matters. You sat on the RBOC from 2014 to 2017. There were 31 meetings during that time frame and you attended 14. It’s frustrating to now have these issues litigated.”

Williams said she attended almost all of the meetings and did not have access to the agreements and contracts Gordo spoke of. 

“I have asked these questions over and over,” Williams said. 

Williams said she regretted approving the budget last year, because the Rose Bowl’s bonus structure for its staff was not clear. 

The fiscal 2023 budget plan for the Rose Bowl Operating Company (RBOC) which shows a projected loss of $2.8 million. The loss would be covered by the RBOC’s operating reserves,

The city’s recommended $955.3 budget includes the appropriations for the Fiscal Year 2023-2027 Capital Improvement Program and includes $295.5 million in appropriations from the general fund.

“Given that the operating budgets for both FY 2021 and FY 2022 were held relatively flat, it is important to plan for a new baseline in FY 2023 by resetting both revenue and expenditure forecasts with today’s realities,” according to a city staff report. 

“The Recommended FY 2023 Operating Budget includes proposed enhancements that reflect community service priorities, mandated programs, and administrative needs.”

During the budget meetings with the respective Council Committees, several additions to the original Recommended Operating Budget were proposed based on public comments and changes in circumstances, the changes included appropriations to the City Attorney/City Prosecutor’s office, the Public Works Department and corresponding appropriations of $84,237 in the Building Services Fund (204).

The City Council also voted on a resolution to approve the annual transfer from the Light and Power Fund to the General Fund. The FY 2023 amount is approximately 10 percent of gross revenues from retail sales.

The city’s charter of Pasadena Charter, Section 902, requires that on or before the third Monday in May the City Manager shall submit to the City Council an annual operating budget for the succeeding fiscal year,” according to a city staff report.

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One thought on “Council Adopts 2023 Budget, But Not Before Rose Bowl Finances Take Center Stage

  • Williams wasted an hour of the public’s with a rookie misunderstanding of the budget with line items she’s been approving this whole time as a member of RBOC.

    This was nothing but grandstanding and we can all see she’s losing the patience of her colleagues.

    Hope she gets a challenger in 2024.