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Norwalk City Council ‘greenlights’ tight budget

By Brian Hews

The Norwalk City Council has approved a new fiscal budget that will be tight on spending for the next twelve months.
On Tuesday night, city leaders gathered to hash out a spending plan that according to city manager Mike Egan is “a spending program that continues to maintain a high level for City services.”
In spite of months of rancor, and outside political interference from California State lawmakers and the recent elimination of redevelopment agencies, Norwalk City Council members passed the $111 million package..
“The City Council has made every effort to reduce costs without jeopardizing overall services and worked to ensure adequate reserves are maintained to weather the slow economic recovery and the continued uncertain actions of the federal and state government,” said Egan.
Egan said that General Fund revenues are projected to increase 1.5%, or $503,355 from the current fiscal year.
Norwalk officials are anticipating an estimated growth of 6% in sales taxes that will translate into $480,000 more in revenue.
Property taxes, including vehicle license fees and other sources, are expected to “grow moderately” and increase only by 1%, or for $191,020 in revenue.
Revenue for new business licenses will reach an estimated $95,000 and look for $100,000 of additional revenue to be generated from additional service fee increases.
Captain Patrick Maxwell who oversees the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in Norwalk said that he was “pleased” with the new spending package, and pointed out that the community can expect two new deputies to be hired in the next 12 months. “In spite of tight budget times, Norwalk will never compromise on the safety of our residents and people who visit here day in and day out,” Maxwell told Los Cerritos Community Newspaper.
Overall the Public Safety budget will include a $571,513 increase from the 11-12 budget, and includes $43,500 for the city to match equally that will be applied to the cities participation in the Federal COPS Hiring Grant.
Jana Stuard, Director of Finance for Norwalk told Mayor Cherie Kelley that “we are presenting a balanced budget, but this is a Balancing Act on all sides.”
To illustrate the complexities of the budget situation, Stuard included a graphic visual slide in her presentation of a man walking on a tightrope over a vast canyon. Councilman Leonard Shryock quipped, “that image speaks volumes about our budget.”
Stuart also pointed out that three major projects would have to be by passed over the next 12 months including the installation of a Geographic Information System and the replacement of aged city duplication machines.
Also being pushed back are several street renovation programs, replacement of several different sewer systems,as well as an upgrade along historic Front Street.