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Hawaiian Gardens Council approves $28.8 Million Budget

By Jerry Bernstein

The Hawaiian Gardens City Council gave approval to a $28.8 million budget.
David Sung, Hawaiian Gardens Finance Director/Treasurer, in a report to the council, said expenditures were estimated at $18.6 million, with capital projects at $743,000 for the new spending year.
He said the estimated balance at the end of the 2012-13 fiscal year would be $29.06 million “We have a balanced budget,” Sung proclaimed.
The Finance Director said Hawaiian Gardens investment and focus policy has called for setting aside $1 million a year to be placed in the general fund reserve. That reserve amount will be increased to $1,100 ,000 until the reserves reaches $15 million. He said this allows for uncertainties and establishes reserves adequate to provide for city operations in case of unforeseen circumstances where revenue could be interrupted. .At the end of the 2012-13 fiscal year the reserve will increase to $9.4 million.
Sung said this year’s budget will continue to furnish “the high level of services the city consistently provides its citizens and to minimize the fiscal impact of the closing of the city’s Redevelopment Agency while maintaining a strong fiscal position.”
“We will also work closely with the city council to monitor all financial aspects of the budget.” Sung also pointed out that the city doesn’t have any major capital projects for the next couple of years.
The budget calls for the city to continue the Redevelopment Agency’s projects, using the city’s general fund to pay for it this year again since RDA’s were eliminated this past year.
Also included in the budget are funds for the introduction of a city operated Youth Employment Program.
Sung said the general fund revenue is $17.2 million. License revenue will be over $17.2 million He said the appropriation limit of the city is fixed at $15.3 million in accordance with Proposition 111 and the Gann Implementation Bill. He said taxes will be $2.6 million and will be 15 percent of the general fund. Licenses and permits will be $770,000 or four percent and other spending areas will be about $1.1 million or six percent of the total budget.
Superintendent Bids Farewell
ABC Unified School District Superintendent Gary Smuts appeared before the council to thank them for its continued support of ABC and its schools over the years. “Since I’m retiring in a few days, I wanted to come before you and thank you for your amazing support,” he said. “There is nobody around here who does what you do for our children,” he said.
“You have a motto, ’Our youth is our future.’ You put action behind your motto. You are unique among the cities ABCUSD serves in support of our children and what you do for our children.”
He said the relationship between ABC and the city hasn’t always been smooth but in the last few years we have become one team “Four years ago the district had to cut back on summer school throughout the district. Hawaiian Gardens stepped up and said it would pay for summer school in Hawaiian Gardens.”
The popular Smuts said the only other schools that have summer school programs are those which receive grant money or where parents pay for it. This year Fedde Middle School will have a summer school program because it has grant money and will run from July 23 to Aug. Smuts said his annual “Walk For Reading” has had the support of the city. “Last year our youngsters in Hawaiian Gardens read one million hours outside of school. This year, in one year’s time, they read 1.2 million hours outside of school. That is remarkable,” he stated