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LCF City Council balances FY 2018-19 budget

The La Cañada Flintridge City Council balanced its 2018-19 budget in a final hearing last week, pulling $347,225 from the city’s general fund reserve, adjusting anticipated revenues upward $88,525 and making cuts and recalculations to projects on their wish list.

Council members were tasked with trimming or finding alternate sources of funding for more than $1.2 million worth of proposed general fund expenditures, presented as items for council consideration.

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“If you were to do everything … you would need to find $1,258,000 somehow, somewhere,” City Manager Mark Alexander told the council.

The panel embarked on a discussion of upcoming fiscal year needs, deciding what required commitment now and what could be reduced or revisited in midyear budget talks.

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Although $1.57 million in reserve funding was previously committed to help cover the $4,476,050 total cost of construction and renovation at the new city hall in the former Sport Chalet headquarters building, council members agreed at the start of the meeting to dedicate another $200,000 toward possibly replenishing reserves or financing a loan for the remainder of the work.

“We either ought to have a plan for replenishing reserves over time, for self-financing, or we’re going to borrow and pay that interest,” said Councilman Greg Brown. “But either way, that ought to be accounted for. Otherwise, we’re going to be in a deficit.”

The City Council also opted to withhold $300,000 originally earmarked for updating the Downtown Village Specific Plan — a document adopted in 2000 to guide development in the Town Center — and reduced a $175,000 request for a historic preservation consultant to inventory historic properties, agreeing to pay just $75,000 and seek help from nearby universities.

A $40,000 median extension on Foothill Boulevard near Woodleigh Lane, designed to prevent people exiting the post office from turning left onto Foothill, was scrapped for the time being. A $25,000 guardrail improvement program was refunded with Measure R dollars, while a $50,000 “placeholder” to help cover increased expenditures as the result of labor negotiations for city employees was reduced to $25,000.

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