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Cerritos City Council Will Consider Major Cuts to Operating Budget, Including Sheriff’s Station

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By Brian Hews

This Thursday’s Cerritos City Council meeting is certain to have controversy, as the Council will consider potential cuts to the $101.7 million operating budget.

The cuts have been necessitated by the impact of the redevelopment dissolution which has reduced the city’s reserves by $27 million over the past six years, reducing the general fund from $80.6 million to $53 million for the current year.

Thursday’s agenda contains several reduction proposals with the corresponding budgetary impact.

What is certain to draw major attention is the proposed elimination of the SkyKnight Helicopter Program and converting the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station to a local area station.

The proposed cuts were placed on the agenda by Councilwoman Carol Chen and Mayor pro tem Naresh Solanki after they unsuccessfully tried to hold up budget approval at a prior meeting by unexpectedly proposing the closure of the Station. They were voted down 3-2 at that meeting.


Cerritos Mayor port tem Naresh Solanki, Councilwoman Carol Chen and former Cerritos Mayor Bruce Barrows. Solanki and Chen voted to close the Cerritos Sheriff's station at a Council meeting and sources have told HMG-CN that Barrows is in favor of the closing. Photo courtesy trojancandy.com

Cerritos Mayor port tem Naresh Solanki, Councilwoman Carol Chen and former Cerritos Mayor Bruce Barrows. Solanki and Chen voted to close the Cerritos Sheriff’s station at a Council meeting and sources have told HMG-CN that Barrows is in favor of the closing. Photo courtesy trojancandy.com


The proposed cuts would save over $3.3 million but “safety and response time in the City will be compromised,” as all Sheriff’s would be dispatched from the Lakewood station.

Mayor George Ray and Council members Jim Edwards and Mark Pulido blasted Chen and Solanki at the meeting for suggesting the cuts to the Sheriff’s station.

Pulido reminded both Chen and Solanki that they campaigned on community safety and said, “it would be a non-starter for me if we cut the Sheriff’s station.”

Edwards agreed and Mayor Ray said, “we need to have a discussion on this, our residents should have input on this, I am not for cutting the station.”

Other cuts include City Commissions; many Cerritos residents have complained for years about the commissions that operate within the City.

The Planning Commission is a well-known tool used by Council members to appoint commissioners who will eventually run for Council.

All Commissioners are paid some sort of stipend for attending meetings, costing the City over $50,000 per year.

Consequently, the City is proposing eliminating the following: Fine Arts and Historical, Economic Development, and the Parks and Recreation commissions.

Another controversial cut will be the proposed 50% reduction in City subsidies to community groups, saving the city $78,000.

The cuts would severely impact the Cerrito’s Regional Chamber of Commerce, Community Family Guidance, Pathways Volunteer Hospice, and Su Casa.

The Cerritos Senior Center will not be immune to scrutiny as the city is looking at reducing the scope of many programs and eliminating the Senior Fitness/Wellness Series and Senior Health Fair for a savings of almost $21,000.

The City is also proposing cuts to major programs and services that the Recreation Division provides to residents: Festival of Friendship, Volunteer Recognition, Easter Egg Hunt, Community Spring Festival, Swim Center Safety Expo, Let Freedom Ring Celebration, 9/11 Evening of Remembrance, Community Bike Ride Event, and the Halloween Festival for a savings of over $78,000.

A proposed $282,000 cut to Cerritos Library will mandate closure on Friday evenings and on weekends.

Finally, the City is proposing withdrawal from the Magnolia Powerplant Organization, ceasing operation as an electrical utility while also considering the potential lease of the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts to a private operator, ending direct City involvement in the daily operations and programming of the CCPA. Both are listed as savings “To Be Determined.”

$4.211 million in savings would be realized if all cuts were implemented, with the closure of the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station accounting for 78% ($3.3 million) of the total cuts.


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  • Nothing mentioned about selling or sub leasing the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. That is one hell of an expensive line item or alternative park, the taxpayers are subsidizing. This is not even an community program, it is only usable by paid subscriptions.

    Funds to operate this, come from the General Funds, but the general public can not afford to attend. Only aprox 9% of the residents from Cerritos, use this center.

    The budget reports for this agenda, does not address the CCPA.

    Sheriffs are another pink elephant, our crime, accidents are increasing. There is more staff in the substation, then there is out in the streets patrolling the hoods. Sheriffs and the Community Safety Division must be vacated, before the CCC begs for more sales taxes.

    Vacate the Magnolia Power, CCC lied from the get go. It is not for the community, it is only for the select end users of power. All the residents are subsidizing the energy, but only business climate are end users.

  • 8//25 Meeting | Comments from Councilpersons: Carol Chen, Solanki, Jim Edwards, Mayor George Ray, Joseph Cho |

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    Readers, these comments were from many residents living in Cerritos.

    Councilperson Carol Chen, ( R) requested staff to report back to all of us, how the proposed sales tax increase could poss. handicap sales revenue and wanted data how other cities had handicap revenue streams, after raising sale tax. This report does not address this. Chen also wanted data on the number of trees which need to be trimmed, the amount of filed insurance claims from the street trees and how this effects our E/O Ins premiums, this report overlooked this too.

    Year ago councilperson, 2 times, George Ray ( R) wanted a report of how much money we could save if the city council did not receive medical insurance to the grave and working for pro bono, this report does not include this. Mayor wanted this budget meeting advertised, do not see this in the LCCN nor TV 3, he advertised he wanted input from residences.

    Councilperson Solanki ( R ) wanted specific crime data reports, response time for the sheriffs, so the sheriffs transfer to Lakewood substation could be debated. Solanki wanted recommendations for new usage of the Cerritos sheriff station if vacated within 30 days. This budget report does nothing.

    Years ago, council person Joseph Cho, (Democrat) , and Chris Fuentes, gay Commissioner who was terminated for being gay, suggested a reduction in Commissioners and Commissioners hearings. Now this budget study, finally addresses years later, but staff is not supporting this nor making recommendations for resolutions to improve these programs. Since Joseph Cho was a minority Democrat, the Republicans overlooked this & boo/ hiss, councilperon Mr. Cho budget reductions. Mr. Cho has moved from Cerritos to Fullerton.

    This report does nothing to bring fresh ideas into the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts such as subleasing the facility to a professional management company. This report does not address that the Friends of the CCPA have filed BK and dissolved more than year ago and councilperson Jim Edwards, was connected with said BK and said nothing during his campaign for re-election to office for 4 more yrs.

    This report does nothing to address the commissioners being appointed by resume and stop appointing the commissioners.

    This report does not address staffer’s car allowance and yearly cell phone allowance of $1600 per staffer.

    8/25 | Link to the Cerritos Agenda

    Review and consideration of potential budget expenditure reduction measures (COUNCIL).
    Agenda Report
    Review and consideration of a proposal for the development of a ballot measure that would place before the Cerritos electorate at the March, 2017 General Municipal Election the question of whether to approve a local sales tax increase (COUNCIL).
    Agenda Report

  • Most of the comments from my email blast are upset: Calendar for this meeting is poor: School start up and peak vacations week. It reads, City Council does not care about proposed tax or budget reduction, this budget agenda should be on a stand alone calendar, plus placing this budget agenda items, at the end of the public hearing sends out a negative message.

    There are two parts to this discussion. Program cost and reduction savings, plus implanting new sales city sales tax. Staff is not making any recommendations to reducing programs, just outline the potential cost savings.

    Staff is making two recommendations for sales tax: Either .05% or .1% tax increase. Staff is recommending a 1% increase .

    Additionally, the staff is telling the Cerritos voters of a transportation tax for all of LA Co, which may be approved.

    Cerritos is at 9% sales tax, if the .05% transportation is approved by voters, and the city 1% tax is approved, Cerritos will be at 10.5% sales tax. What the staff does not talk about, their proposal for new sales tax, many Shoppers will start going to outlining cities for shopping, where sales tax is cheaper.

    10.5% sales tax would also apply to all residents in the city of Cerritos for a purchase of a car anywhere in the state. Eventually a lot of the people are going to start purchasing cars again in the state of Oregon, where there is no sales tax, and flat low cost DMV fees. We seen this happen before, and with the 10.5% sales tax, I can see more and more people going to the border line cities of Oregon to purchase cars and RVs. Even today’s market, most of the RVs are purchasing in Oregon and returning to California because it’s quite a savings. Staff does not talk about the Cerritos residents, which hold their DMV Licenses and car registration outside of Cerritos, for cost savings today. Staff has declined to address Cerritos History pertaining to the loss of many furniture stores, which left Cerritos and relocated in to OC, cheaper sales tax rates cities.

    Agenda spells out, city of Cerritos needs somewhere between $25M-$50M budget to repair the fractured Public Works. I don’t think it’s fair to make the statement that the recession caused deferred budget, many of these failing PW have been deteriorating for many decades. Yesteryears Cerritos budget did not meet the challenges of the declining maintenance and public works in the city, now city is trying to spook us into being pocket book financing for PW.

    Cerritos is at large a Union city. Feel residents will vote yes on supporting 1% sales tax, which will shout out to buyers, shop elsewhere then Cerritos and save on sales tax. 10.5% sales tax, potentially will choke many buyers in to shopping elsewhere.

  • http://www.cerritos.us/

    The three Republican Stooges who are against the sheriff’s, are they really against the sheriff’s, or about balancing the budget, or against the Unions, namely the LA COUNTY SHERIFFS???? We all knew this was coming, when Don Knabe , LA CO supervisor is termed out in Nov 2016. We all knew the sunset of the Calif RDA funds, so that should not be part of the cry babbie’s budget woes!

    I read the agenda for the city of Cerritos, I really wondering how many people in Cerritos got a 10% raise, when the sheriff’s Union got a 10% raise, negotiated over a few year. .??????????

    My next thought, the staff is proposing redoing a lot of the public works and Landscape sections of the city for tune of $25M-$50M………… For the last 60 years, we have grown into a forest, and the forest is not being maintained by the budget or the city management. City of Cerritos may be better off welcoming a cement world, reducing- deleting the forest, welcoming drought world and the desert landscape pallet, and doing away with editing out a lot of the horticulture; because for the next 60 years we are always going to be negotiating an increase in sales tax, poorly maintained budgets, cutbacks, personnel contracts, lawsuits, lack of E/O Ins, and yes more recessions and mini depressions in the economy.


    Exedra is unknown GHOST named player, to any city IN THE WORLD…..but we all can see the dreaded effects of non-controlled urban menopause. Forest around THORN BIRDS, burned in fast fire storm / drought, peoples of 90703 are experiencing our harvest being dehydrated by money and water; AND MAYBE UNIONS!


  • AndyAmerican says:

    What if the Cerritos city council limit the number of sheriff ‘fly-overs’ down to reasonable number instead of hearing those darn helicopter every hour / around the clock?! What was the price tag on each fly over from the cities “Sky-watch”, is it still $10,000 every time they fly completely over the city? Now get out those calculators and do the math! This city was once great to live in! Now you cannot tell the difference between us and Riverside- there, I said it! I understand the premise behind the Sky-watch program but flying at such speeds at such great heights; isn’t it more efficient to have more patrol officers instead?
    Or another suggestion would be to PERMANETLY CLOSE the performing arts center? Or sell it? That place is a money pit and if I were a criminal… A failing store front would be a great way to launder a ton of money!
    Lastly, you could always NOT build this car museum. In the beginning, you’ll get the locals to pay a visit but after the first few years after its grande opening, no one will care about standing behind velvet rope and gazing upon the same cars. Us Cerritos residents are feeling the heavy handed pinch from hefty property taxes, parking fines, landscape fines, noise fines, barking dog fines. What’s next? If I walk outside with my coffee and pj’s on will I be fined for being a fat guy in public?! The middle-aged Fat guy Fine?