City Council Weighs More Budget Cuts, Reductions, Fees & Revenue

DUARTE, CA, May 22, 2012 -- Duarte City Council members spent two nights in budget workshop meetings (April 30 and May 1) grappling with hard decisions about further cuts and reductions to help balance the 2012-13 fiscal year budget in the wake of the end of redevelopment, a slow economy and continued State budget shortfalls now estimated at approximately $16 billion. With the certain impact of a fourth consecutive year of cuts and reductions on City services, programs, and staffing, the Council is carefully weighing the significant impact on residents of continued deep cuts.


Council members were presented with a preliminary analysis of the 2012-13 General Fund projecting revenues of approximately $11,832,500 million, expenses of $12,529,600 million, and a projected deficit of $697,000.  Through an extensive effort, staff recommended for the Council's consideration $773,000 in cuts and revenue enhancements to bring the budget into balance providing a surplus of $75,880.


By the end of the budget workshop, Council had decided to forestall or reduce some of the recommended cuts for now, as they contract with Willdan Financial Services to survey a representative group of Duarte voters to see if they are willing to support one of several types of revenue measures currently under discussion. The three types of revenue measures include special purpose, sales or utility user taxes.  Based upon the information derived from the survey and focus group process, City Council will decide in the very near future whether or not to pursue this type of strategy this November as a way to preserve essential services.


The budget that will come back to the Council for adoption at the June 12th meeting will reflect a deficit of $72,000 and leave a General Fund balance of approximately $4.9 million; an amount covering 40 % of General Fund expenses. It will also include $391,000 in cost reductions that are effective July 1, 2012 and $109,000 that will be effective January 1, 2013, if a revenue measure is not considered and/or passed in November of 2012.


Among proposed cost-saving measures and revenue enhancements being considered are outsourcing some janitorial services; reducing County-contracted building inspections to every other Friday; reducing Fitness Center hours by one per week and closing on major holidays; Eliminate funding for the 2014 Rose Float; Increase annual overnight parking fees from $40 to $200 per year, and temporary parking fees from .50 cents to $1 per day; Increase annual youth sports program fees from $25 to $30; Reduce graffiti removal budget by 50%; Transfer costs of School Resource Officer and Junior Olympic Track Meet to Duarte Unified School District; reduce funding for one special assignment Sheriff's deputy by 50%; and rent out Teen Center, Encanto & Royal Oaks Parks gazebos for special events and meetings including Otis Gordon Park for soccer.


The Council will also consider adoption of a Brush Clearance ordinance that places responsibility on foothill homeowners for brush clearance around their property structures at some point in the upcoming fiscal year.  The City of Monrovia adopted a similar ordinance in 2007.  The complete list of cuts and revenue enhancements is posted below.  For more information, call Duarte City Hall at (626) 357-7931.


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