In a Balancing Act, City Council OKs Budget

Not without some final discussion, the City Council on Tuesday voted 3-1 to adopt the 2018-19 budget and financial plan, with $14,650,375 in expected revenue aligning with anticipated expenditures. Councilman Greg Brown voted against it and Councilman Michael Davitt wasn’t in attendance.
In the budget, 29% of general fund expenditures will go to personnel, while the bulk of departmental expenditures will go to capital projects (22%), public safety (21%) and public works (21%).
Brown said he found fault with the city’s decision to pull from its reserves to balance the budget.
“In simple terms, the expenditures exceeded revenues, so that’s requiring a backfill of $350,000 out of reserves,” Brown said. “I know it’s technically not deficit spending, but in my mind, expenses exceed revenues and that’s a deficit. And this year in particular, our reserves are taking a big hit — which I support a lot of — for buying the new City Hall. Our job, in my mind, is to start rebuilding those reserves.”
Mayor Terry Walker countered: “It’s not like we spent it on a consumable; we have an asset to show for it.”
And Councilman Jonathan Curtis reminded his colleagues that the budget does not take into account approximately $3 million the city will receive for the sale of its current City Hall building.
Also, Alexander pointed out that several items on the budget are considered placeholders, including $200,000 toward potential debt service for financing the new City Hall and $400,000 for possible contingencies during construction.
“So if we end up not spending it, that $400,000 comes back to reserves,” said Alexander, who added that often in past years, the city took money for reserves to balance the budget that it ultimately didn’t spend because at year’s end, revenues outpaced expenditures.
“I understand,” Brown said. “It’s just a different viewpoint; I just can’t support that deficit spending.”
“If we all agreed on everything, we wouldn’t be doing our jobs,” Walker said.

RING.COM REBATE

Since last week, the Ring rebate program has been reopened to LCF residents.
Over the past year, the City Council has funded a subsidy of $12,500 allowing 250 homes to purchase the residential video doorbell system at half-price.
The third phase of the Ring program opened June 1 and was made available first to Neighborhood Watch participants through July 10.
Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Capt. Chris Blasneck applauded residents’ use of the system as well as a surge in Neighborhood Watch groups, of which there are now 46 in the city.
But he urged residents to stay alert, to lock their car doors and to be careful where they place their purses.
There were 16 larceny-thefts in June and four residential burglaries, he said, adding that the 28 local residential burglaries for the year to date are significantly fewer than the 47 during the same span a year ago.

MORATORIUM
EXTENDED

Council members voted 4-0 to approve the 10-month, 15-day extension of the recently adopted moratorium on the issuance of permits for multifamily development within the Community Planned Development zone. During the moratorium, the city’s staff will review and analyze development standards to address the impact of traffic, parking and noise.
Council members urged staff members to finish their analysis in less time to limit the hindrance on development: “This would be something we could knock out in a year,” Mayor Pro Tem Leonard Pieroni said. The initial 45-day moratorium was set to expire on Aug. 3.

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