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Pasadena’s New Rent Stabilization Department Reports Budget Underspending

Published on Wednesday, July 10, 2024 | 5:33 am

Pasadena’s newly established Rent Stabilization Department will present its second quarterly operating budget update on Wednesday, revealing significant underspending in its first year of operation. 

Newly-installed Department Director Helen Morales is scheduled to deliver the report at the Pasadena Rental Housing Board (PRHB) meeting starting at 6 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room of Robinson Park Recreation Center, at 1081 N. Fair Oaks Ave. 

The department, created in December 2023 to support the Board in implementing Measure H, a voter-approved City Charter amendment, has allocated a total budget of $2,876,232 for the period between July 1, 2023 and June 30, 2024. 

However, the department is currently underspending due to several factors, Morales said in the  memo. She will be presenting the full details of the report at Wednesday’s meeting.

A preliminary report showed “delayed onboarding” of new staff as a primary reason for the positive budget variance, with recruitment efforts still ongoing for vacant positions. 

The memo also points to a slower buildout of office infrastructure and delayed expenses related to “Rental Registry implementation” as contributing factors.

The budget breakdown shows $1,005,426 earmarked for personnel, with 58% of this allocation still available. Services and supplies account for $421,243, with 42% remaining unspent. 

The department has allocated $90,000 for capital outlay for office furniture and technology upgrades, and $349,306 for internal services, of which 15% remains.

Measure H, approved by Pasadena voters in November 2022, tasked the department with stabilizing rents and providing eviction protections. Helen Morales started as the Rent Stabilization Department Director on July 1, just days before the scheduled budget update.

The budget report comes as the department continues to establish itself, having recently signed a lease agreement for a permanent office space. 

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