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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

City Council Looks at Budget Proposed for Next Fiscal Year

• Property Tax Revenue Still Strong

BY BILL KOENEKER

The Malibu City Council had its first look-see at the proposed budget for 2011-2012 at its special quarterly meeting last week.
Assistant City Manager Reva Feldman told council members there has been a decline in revenues over the past two years, but the good news is that there is not a decline in property tax revenues. “That is our strongest, highest revenue source,” Feldman said.
The proposed budget consists of general fund revenue of $20.7 million and expenditures of $20.4 million.
The undesignated general fund reserve at the end of June 2012 is estimated to be $9.7 million, which includes $100,000 transferred into deferred maintenance, according to Feldman.
Earlier in the evening, the council agreed to direct the staff to bring back a resolution establishing a new policy upping the reserve policy from $8 million established in 2000 when the budget was $11 million to 50 percent of the city’s annual general fund operating budget.
Feldman indicated secured property tax revenue is projected to increase by $50,000 to $6.75 million from the 2011-2012 projected amount.
The utility users tax is expected to remain the same amount budgeted from the prior year and sales tax is estimated to increase $20,000 from last year’s budget.
Feldman talked about the overall expenditures in various departments such as management services which actually decreased from the prior fiscal year from $2.5 million to $2.1 million
“The savings from this decrease helped offset the increase in the city clerk’s budget of $128,000. This increase is due to the addition of $20,000 for part-time staffing for elections, $20,000 for a city-wide intern program, $50,000 for city-wide document imaging services and $45,000 for elections,” Feldman wrote in a memo to the council.
The overall budget for public safety increased from the prior fiscal year from $6.3 million to $6.4 million.
Feldman noted the price tag for emergency preparedness has decreased $44,000 due to completion of the installation of computer servers in an off-site location that will allow for uninterrupted city operations in the event of a major disaster.
“This decrease helped off-set the increase in public safety of $98,000 due to the increase of law enforcement contracting costs,” Feldman added.
That increase reflects a rise in personnel and administrative related costs adopted by the county and does not reflect a change in the service provided to the city by the sheriff’s department and includes the beach team services of $450,000 as well as the additional deputy approved in the prior year at the rate of $250,000.
Administrative services expenditures decreased from $6.9 million to $6.7 million. The decrease,, according to Feldman, is due primarily to the completion of construction in the Carbon Beach undergrounding district and the Broad Beach undergrounding district, but does not reflect any budget savings for city operations.
Media operations has increased $94,000 due to the addition of the media information officer.
The budget for Legacy Park has increased to $105,000 for operations and maintenance of the newly completed park.
The parks and recreation budget for the upcoming fiscal year has decreased a net of $52,000 from the prior year. The decrease is due to the planned closure of the skate park.
In other action, the council agreed to separate the building department from the planning department.
One new division would be titled the Environmental and Sustainability Department, nicknamed “the Blue Team,” and the other new division will go back to being called the Planning Department.
The planning manager will now become the planning director. The planning director will report directly to the city manager.
The new building department will lead all of the city’s clean water, environmental and building and safety duties.
The head of that department will be called the environmental and sustainability director.

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