Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Budget Study Session Blues

ONE DOWN, ONE TO GO
Tuesday afternoon the Costa Mesa City Council held the first of two budget study sessions - the next one will be at 4:30 p.m., June 11, 2013 in Council Chambers.

YOUNG BREAKS THE BAD NEWS
This meeting, conducted primarily by Finance and Information Technology Director Bobby Young, presented the cold, hard facts that the preliminary budget created using council and department heads desires for the next fiscal year would result in a $12 million deficit.

SPENDING UP 18.74%!
Young broke the presentation into two sections - the Preliminary Budget and the Preliminary Capital Improvement Program Budget.  The former included a PowerPoint presentation showing 22 slides and took just under an hour.  If you wish to plow through the 290 page Preliminary Budget document on the city web site you'll find it HERE.  In a nutshell, with just about $139.5 million in anticipated revenues and just under $157.5 million in appropriations, the budget as prepared would require $18 million in Fund Balance dollars - reserves.  The increase in spending represents an 18.74% increase over the fiscal year ending the end of June.

CAPITAL SPENDING UP OVER 50%!
The Operating Budget is relatively flat - up only $270,083.  However, the Capital Improvement budget is $31,156,387 - up a whopping 50.46%!  At this point it's easy to see where cuts must be made.

HATCH SLASHES CIP BUDGET
CEO Tom Hatch prepared a list of 63 separate line items from the Capital Budget with his recommendations for reductions to produce a balanced budget.  His proposals slashed that $31 million to $18.3 million and included some VERY interesting inclusions and cuts.  Unfortunately, his list is not yet available online for your reading pleasure.

STREETS AND DRAINS INTACT, BUILDING MAINT. CUT
For example, he left intact almost all funding for Street Improvements - right at $10.4 million.  He left out line item 25, Westside Improvements ($250,000).  He left in major Storm Drain funding of almost $3.4 million, but deleted $1.25 million in much-needed Broadcast Systems upgrades for the council chambers.  In fact, in the section identified as "Building Maintenance", which included those broadcast systems, Hatch left in only $500,000 of the just under $2.7 million requested dollars, and that was half of the line item #63, Building Maintenance Projects.

PARKS, INCLUDING CMHS TRACK, SLASHED
Under Park Development, with a total requested of just over $9.7 million, Hatch left only $3.05 million.  He funded only $500,000 of the $3.5 million requested for Costa Mesa High School Track and Field upgrades.  Several members of the public showed up to support the CMHS improvements - most looking like they had just jogged over from the track.  Council members Wendy Leece and Sandra Genis expressed concern that the Newport-Mesa Unified School District - the organization primarily responsible for that facility - still had bond money available to put toward this project.  Hatch was directed to contact school board officials to determine if they're willing to participate in this project using some of that bond money.

MORE CUTS AND SAVES
Another item not included in Hatch's pared-down recommendations was just over $1 million upgrade to Jack Hammett Field #1 and $275,000 for bluff stairs at the south end of Fairview Park.  He did leave almost $836,000 for a Fairview Park Multipurpose Trail and $650,000 for parking lot lighting, also at Fairview Park.

THE NEXT ONE WILL BE INTERESTING
It's going to be VERY interesting to see what the council comes back with at the next study session on June 11th.  Mayor Jim Righeimer has recently been making a big deal of having had two balanced budgets - rightfully so.  We'll see how the council under his leadership juggles the numbers this time around to accomplish that feat.


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13 Comments:

Anonymous walking in fairview said...

836k for a trail!!!
Its not really even needed... People have already made trails in there!
Lets hope they dont make them narrow and awkward like they did along some the riprarian habitat

But whatever, i just drive over potholes and crumbling roads on a daily basis, at least i might get a nice path to walk on sometime

5/29/2013 01:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Master Plan said...

I'm planning on going to the Tower May 30th and voicing my plan to the Developer in person! Let's remove any building in the city over 40 years old and build new ones! No more open spaces. No restrictions on land use. 100 units per acre is fine. Within 5 years Costa Mesa will be the shining city on the mesa and the envy of everyone in SoCal. We shall do away with the office of mayor and go back to feudal times, crowning King Jimbo I.

5/29/2013 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Of course the Westside doesn't need any more improvements. It makes much more sense to spend 1.3 million ripping out and replacing the trees we just planted on mesa verde drive. After all, we're all about fiscal conservity, and saving the taxpayer money's.

5/29/2013 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Can some one make any sense out of why this council can spend money like drunken sailors all year like they are printing money, then whenever a budget needs to be balanced, claim we are broke?

5/29/2013 08:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Byron de Arakal said...

No one's ripping out the trees on Mesa Verde Drive, Greg. CIP line item is for median improvements; including, specifically, planting drought tolerant landscaping in the center median around the recently planted trees.

5/29/2013 10:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Byron de Arakal said...

Greg...

Here's the exact description of the Mesa Verde Drive project from the CIP Form B-12:

"This project includes removal of existing turf; design and installation of water efficient landscaping on Mesa Verde Drive, from east Adams Avenue to West Adams Ave. The improvements will enhance the aesthetic appearance of the area and may result in reduction of water usage and maintenance costs. It will also eliminate water damage to the roadway from irrigation run-off, thereby reducing future maintenance costs. Contractor to install four (4) flow meters and/or flow sensors.

5/29/2013 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

I never would classified those trees as a definition of "water efficient landscaping",but glad to see they aren't being replaced. The $1.3 million being spent to re-landscape an area that just got landscaped ....I still cry ..."FOUL".


5/29/2013 12:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Messy piggys ruining CM said...

If the city would stop hiring unnecessary executive positions, it would have more money. When was the last time business license fees were increased? 1960's? How come Nordstrom only pays a few hundred dollars for a business license?

5/29/2013 01:42:00 PM  
Anonymous there's doer's, then there's whiners said...

sounds like a very wise project for mesa verde drive. add to it the fact that gericault, the expert on everything, doesn't like it and it is a win win. can't wait to drive over there and see it when it is done.

5/29/2013 04:31:00 PM  
Anonymous i thought these were business guys said...

UH OH DIDN'T MENSIGNER RUN A DIVISION OF SUNCAL THAT WENT BANKRUPT? WONDER IF ANY PARALLELS HERE?

ANKLE QUICK DO SOME PR FOR YOUR DEVELOPER BUDDIES/BOSSES

5/29/2013 04:34:00 PM  
Anonymous why rip out trees? get ridge on this said...

Messy Piggys? VS.
Croaking wart filled Frogs and their minions?

sounds like a great civil war, followed by carpetbaggers vs. enviro whackos. stay tuned.

5/30/2013 09:46:00 AM  
Anonymous MV said...

Uh oh, someone let their 6 year old on here to comment for them...

5/30/2013 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

@there's doer's,then there's whiners-

"doer's" -You mean like all the councilmen and planning commissioners who showed up at the meeting for our city's General Plan?
"whiners" - Really?- coming from your camp with Tim Sesler and two councildudes who posted daily FB updates of torn campaign signs with inflammatory captions " How does this make you feel?"!!!!
Same torn and stolen signs from the Top Three and 'No on V'- no FB photos of torn/ vandalized signs just renounced the acts and moved on.
btw, Steve- Barbara Venezia wasn't " making fun" of anyone- she spoke the truth.

5/30/2013 08:45:00 PM  

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