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By Rico Dizon
The La Palma City Council approved budget of $24.2 million for Fiscal Year 2014-15 in a 3-2 vote during the council’s regular meeting this past week.
Attempting to fulfill the goals it laid down during the 2014 budget cycle, both the city council and city staff members developed a plan for a balance budget without compromising the quality of life of residents.
At the same time, the development of the fiscal year budget saw directions from the city’s Sustainable Financial Plan that kept to the minimum its total transfer from the General Fund Reserves the amounts of $400,000 in COR projects and $200,000 in one-time transactions translating to only 6.4% of the $9.7 million in General Fund Revenues.
“To achieve a balance budget, we were able to reduce expenditures to just $9.6 million,” said City Manager Ellen Volmert when contacted by Hews Media Group-Community Newspaper after the meeting.
“We painstakingly instituted reforms and re-organizations in the Administration Services, Community Services and the Police Departments. We implemented three-day a week furloughs for six employees in management level,” Volmert said.
She also told HMG-CN that the La Palma Police Department represents a 54% of the total expenditures. “That’s why we need to reduce the full time equivalent (FTE) count in the Police Department from 29 to 27 and utilizing a portion of the General Fund Reserve for said positions,” explained Volmert.
“Hopefully, these stringent measures will only be temporary until the end of the first half of the current fiscal year,” said Volmert. “By next year, we expect a surge in revenues with Tesoro’s marketing office and a couple of new restaurants including McDonalds in full operations.”
On revenue sources, Volmert revealed that the traditional top contributor remains to be the Property Tax with 35%, followed by the Sales Tax at 27% and supported by the Utility User’s Tax. As regard the economic recovery aspect, the Staff recommended a diversified retail tax mix and upcoming opportunities in advertising and lease of properties.
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