Budget Proposal Available For Review
BUDGET AVAILABLE ON WEBSITE
Well, neighbors, the proposed 2009/2010 budget is posted on the city web site (HERE). I suspect many of you will rush to download all 305 pages so you can go through it line by line. Only kidding... but I did download it and have made one fast pass through it. Yikes! It will be available for review at the Costa Mesa libraries and at City Hall the end of this week.
I'm not going to try to cover everything in this budget, but this chart - borrowed from the budget - shows an overview of the proposal - a reduction of more than 18% from the previous year.
*(We had a little snafu... seems the original chart I plucked from the budget proposal was incorrect. So, with the blessing of the CM Finance Staff, we borrowed another one that is correct. Unfortunately, it reflects an even more dismal situation - an 18% decrease in spending, rather than the 15% previously shown.)
BASED ON SOME ASSUMPTIONS
There are some assumptions on which this budget proposal was based, the largest of which is the assumption that the labor organizations will agree to a 5% reduction in salaries and a significant reduction in overtime costs. At the time the budget proposal was published those negotiations were in progress. If they fail, then even greater cuts must be made to balance the budget.
It is truly ironic that, on the very night that City Manager Allan Roeder presented the City Council with the budget proposal they rejected some new revenue sources proposed by the Fire Department totaling over $1 million. So, before the budget proposal even hit their hands they'd made it just that much more difficult to come up with a balanced budget! Talk about short-sighted!
THESE WILL GO!
The following is the list of specific items and programs earmarked for reduction or deletion in the Budget Presentation:
* Close Downtown Recreation Center pool from October to April.
* Elimination of funding for planting of 250 trees, park and open space clean up crew, weekly median hardscape maintenance, fertilization of median landscape and turf. This will further reduce emergency tree response and removal.
* Reduction of traffic enforcement & accident investigations; possible decreased response times related to Traffic Operations.
* Reduction of small tool, materials and equipment repair related to graffiti removal.
* Loss of Cold Case Detective; Likely increased workload to Street Crimes Unit.
* Suspension of Police Department Recruitment Program.
* Significant reduction in funding for Water Quality including consulting assistance and termination of catch basin entrance lid and screen repair/replacement program. The combination of these actions along with the reduced level of inspections to be completed on an annual basis and will have the potential to put the City out of compliance with the NPDES permit.
* Eliminate most weekend & after business hour video production programs - not including cable casting of City council meetings.
* Partial reallocation of Engineering employees salaries, from the General Fund to the Measure M Fund, will reduce the Measure M fund balance available for construction of street improvements and therefore a fewer number of streets will receive improvements.
* Elimination of paving 2 residential streets, and reduction of approximately 750 tons of asphalt.
* Reduction in the traffic signal maintenance account will impact the City's ability to respond to knockdowns and unexpected repair items.
* Reduction of right of way weed control by 10%, resulting in more visible weeds along City streets, alleys and sidewalks. Decrease alley and right of way maintenance funding by 50%, possibly resulting in citizen complaints due to weeds and debris in alleys and in un-landscaped areas.
* Elimination of all turf and landscape fertilization resulting in a decline in aesthetic quality of parks and landscape and reduce turf healing ability in high traffic areas. This also includes a reduction in the contract maintenance of TeWinkle Lake, elimination of the provision of the "Mutt Mitts" in all City parks and routine replacement of park furniture and related amenities.
* Virtual elimination of all building repairs and major maintenance items such as termite fumigation, painting, plumbing & electrical repair and related property upkeep.
* Postponement of most scheduled vehicle and equipment replacement except for police patrol vehicles.
* Postponement of needed computer hardware & software replacement.
* Elimination of all non-mandatory training and professional development for all personnel.
* Reductions in Youth & Family programs, Mobile Recreation program, Youth Basketball and Football, Concerts in the Parks and suspension of Youth in government and reduced funding for the Cultural Arts and Historic Preservation Committees.
* Reduction of turf mowing to two (2) times a month in all parks and City buildings except for sports fields which will remain weekly - resulting in a decline in aesthetic quality of parks and overgrown appearance.
* Reduction in hours of the assigned part time staff overseeing contracts with Fairview Park users groups, OC Model Engineers and Harbor Soaring Society. Reduction in assistance given to Parks Project Manager regarding construction projects, performing research and writing council and Park Commission reports. Reduction in oversight of the Phase 1, 17-acre Riparian Habitat 5 year maintenance and monitoring as required by the Department of Fish and Game and US Wildlife Service. Phase 1 completed in June 2009.
POOP MITTS VS. RECREATION LEADER?
As you can see, there are many programs affected that will create some very significant lifestyle changes for many residents. There's already a fledgling grassroots effort to "save" the Mutt Mitts! Good grief!
ROEDER SUMS IT UP
Roeder summed up his budget message with the following paragraph: (emphasis is mine)
"If substantially approved as submitted and consistent with the 10 point Management Budget Strategy, the City will lose over 100,000 man hours over the course of the fiscal year. The proposed staffing levels reflect those of almost 25 years ago while serving a larger population today. This cannot happen without impacting the quality and quantity of service to the public. It would be illusory to suggest otherwise and disingenuous to the public we serve. At the same time, it is allowing Costa mesa to keep local taxes among the lowest of any City in Orange County and among the most business friendly cities anywhere in California. The future success of the community will rest with a well reasoned balance between the need for services and the desire for public amenities in combination with fiscal restraint and an equitable tax structure for all."
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
The schedule of events remains the same:
Tuesday, June 2 - Presentation of the Budget Proposal to the City Council
Tuesday, June 9 - City Council Budget Study Session - Conference Room 1A, City Hall, 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, June 9 - Tentatively scheduled adjourned Council Meeting following the study session. This will permit the council to provide direction as necessary to the staff.
Thursday, June 11 - Public Budget Workshop, Conference Room 1A, City Hall. Time to be determined. (Note, the city announced in a press release at noon today that this meeting will begin at 6 p.m.)
Tuesday, June 16 - Budget approval by City Council at their regularly scheduled meeting.
July 1, 2009 - The deadline for a balanced budget to be approved by the City Council.
LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD - OR SHUT UP LATER!
Now is the time to contact your council members to let them know how you feel about this budget and give them your suggestions for improvements and other potential cuts. If you don't speak up now then hold your peace later when these budget cuts personally affect you - you had your chance to be heard.
Labels: Budget Proposal