City Council Commits $80K for New City Hall

In its mid-year budget review last week, the City Council approved $203,025 in funding for nine projects, including dedicating $80,000 to costs related to the building that will house La Cañada Flintridge’s new City Hall.
On Thursday, March 16, council members earmarked $50,000 for the design and improvement efforts to the building formerly occupied by Sport Chalet’s corporate offices. They also OK’d $30,150 in preliminary operating costs, including telephone, water, electricity, landscape maintenance and security and fire system monitoring.
The improvement efforts will come from the property acquisition fund, City Manager Mark Alexander said.
“The point is to have a project manager who can help drive this process so we don’t take away staff resources so we can continue to operate the city,” Mayor Jonathan Curtis said. “Having someone experienced like that will make all the difference in the world. The last thing we need to do is learn the hard way.”
The city also will dedicate $51,700 to unanticipated costs for tree services. Because of record-breaking rain, more trees than usual had to be removed. Having been weakened by a series of drought years, they were at risk for falling, according to Edward Hitti, the public works director.
Also, Hitti said, the city’s contracted tree crews were asked to work weekends to take care of emergency calls.
Of the $151,425 spend on trees so far this fiscal year, tree removals accounted for $59,050 of that bill, with crew overtime accounting for $7,650, according to the city’s staff report.
Council members also gave their blessing to an upgrade of the city’s financial management system, which will cost $29,225.
Since 2011, the city staff used Fundware to handle city finances. However, earlier this fiscal year, Blackbaud, the firm that owns Fundware, informed LCF that it won’t offer technical support for that system in 2018. In its place, LCF will use Financial Edge, which is Blackbaud’s replacement for Fundware, which is expected to provide greater functionality while maintaining many of the same basic structural features.
After some discussion, council members agreed to OK landscaping in the public right-of-way at the corner of Alta Canyada and Foothill Boulevard, where the La Cañada Imports pole sign that violated city ordinances was recently required to be taken down.
That funding is contingent, however, on whether the owner of the property that also includes 7-Eleven, agrees to pay for watering there. Otherwise, the council agreed to revisit the matter at next year’s budget hearing.
The city also will dedicate $15,000 to pay for a temporary employee assigned to cover for a permanent employee who is out indefinitely with an injury.
Council members also approved $10,975 of capital projects funding for new signage along the Cherry Canyon trails, covering 25 new signposts designed to create minimal impact while providing accurate directions. Also approved: $5,675 of Prop. A funding for 15 new shuttle stop signs along Foothill.
The capital project fund will also pay for a $5,800 roof replacement at the restroom at Memorial Park.
Overall, Director of Finance Dan Jordan delivered a positive review of the city’s situation, including that it received another clean audit and that, despite losing major sales tax generator Sport Chalet, the city “had another great year financially.”
He cited that the total general fund revenue received as of Dec. 31, 2016, was $4.9 million, or 37.3% of total budgeted revenues.
“We’ve gotten very used to having these fantastic years and we shouldn’t take those for granted,” Jordan said. “The local economy is in great shape, our expenses are under control and it’s been another good year, financially, for the city.”

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