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Agoura Dips Into Savings, Hikes Budget 55%

Times Staff Writer

The Agoura Hills City Council dipped into fiscal reserves for the first time in adopting a $10.7-million annual budget this week, the largest in the city’s history and a 55% increase over the previous year’s budget.

About half the 1989-90 budget will go to capital improvement projects, the largest of which is the extension of Canwood Street from Derry Avenue to Chesebro Road.

Passage of the budget Wednesday night in a 4-0 council vote comes about five months before three council members, including Mayor Darlene McBane, are up for reelection. The budget includes no new taxes.

Last year’s budget was $6.9 million.

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The budget allocates $3 million to the Canwood Street project, which the city hopes to complete in the early 1990s. The extension is the result of a controversy that occurred over Los Angeles County’s closure last year of Medfield Street. Medfield Street provided the only eastbound alternative route from a business park to the Ventura Freeway.

$2.1 Million Cost

The construction cost of extending Canwood Street for less than a mile is estimated at $2.1 million, but the cost of the land is undetermined, City Manager David N. Carmany said.

Other large capital improvement projects in the budget include a $400,000 recreation building and $231,000 for the completion or installation of traffic signals at two intersections: Canwood Street and Reyes Adobe Road, and Thousand Oaks Boulevard and Grey Rock Road.

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McBane said Friday that the city needed to dip into its reserves to pay for the various projects. The budget reduced the reserves from about $4.5 million to about $1.5 million, she said.

Few new programs or increases in spending for city services were approved, she said.

“We held the line in almost every department,” McBane said.

Among the increases were an $11,500 after-school child-care program and $79,508 for a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy to work as a full-time crime prevention officer.

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