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Cerritos Will Look at Big Budget Cuts at Tonight’s Special Meeting

 

BY BRIAN HEWS • May 11, 2020

The city of Cerritos, at tonight’s special meeting, will review various large budget items due to the massive loss of revenue attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City will look at cutting LASD’s Skyknight helicopter program which is scheduled to cost the city $430,000 for 2020-’21.

The city will also examine the expenditures for the city’s crossing guard program, a favorite target of Mayor Solanki and now Mayor pro tem Chuong Vo. The cost of that program is $466,000.

In July 2017 Solanki voted to cut the crossing guards, that “was a surprise” to some on the City Council.

After public comment was closed, discussion was opened for the City Council with then-Councilman Naresh Solanki immediately asking about the City paying for crossing guards for ABCUSD schools.

“That came out of nowhere,” said one high-ranking City official.

Solanki stated, “we want to make sure the kids and parents are safe but I’m sure the school board has more of a budget then we do.”

Mayor pro tem Mark Pulido said, “I’m not interested in that I am more interested in the city fully funding the crossing guards. How long have we been funding the crossing guards?”

City Manager Art Gallucci said, “since the beginning of the city.”

Solanki subsequently insisted that City Council write a letter to the ABC about the crossing guards.

The motion was made by Solanki and seconded by Councilmember Edwards, who passed away just yesterday.

The City will also look at turning the Sheriff’s Station into a “community station” saving $2.8 million per year; the move would “cause significant administrative/procedural changes to how the LASD provides law-enforcement to the city.”

Currently, Cerritos pays nearly $13 million annually for a “full service” sheriff’s station.

The station is staffed with 72 positions including one Captain, four Lieutenants, eleven Sergeants, twenty-six field deputies, five Watch Deputies, three Traffic Motor Officers, eight Directed Patrol Deputies, five Detectives, two Custody Assistants, nine Law Enforcement Technicians, one Office Assistant, one Captain’s Secretary, one Supervising Station Clerk, and five Station Clerks.

Converting to a community station would eliminate 27 positions including the Captain, two Lieutenants, seven Sergeants, and five field deputies.

The city will also look at rate increases for residential and commercial accounts of the city sewer system, currently the rates do not cover the annual operating costs in the city must pay nearly $1 million to cover the shortfall.

Cerritos residents currently pay a little over two cents per unit of water, the closest city to that cost is Downey at $.10 per unit.

The city will also examine cutting advisory board stipends which currently total $57,000 annually. Advisory Boards include the Planning Commission and the Economic Development Commission.

There was no mention of City employee cuts in the Council agenda.

 

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