Pasadena Directors Balk at New Budget
Retiring City Manager Donald McIntyre’s budget of $264 million “missed the mark,” according to some City Directors critical of its direction.
“What we don’t have in this budget is a reflection of the board’s priorities as we adopted them,” Director Rick Cole said. “We have the words, but we don’t have the money.”
Cole said the budget, presented Tuesday and the final one in McIntyre’s 17-year tenure, failed to give adequate funding to public safety, human services, the arts and Northwest Pasadena, the city’s main minority community.
Instead, Cole said, McIntyre proposed budget increases of more than 20% in the personnel, communications, public works and risk management departments. Cole also criticized a $1.7-million proposal to plant trees in the city.
Director William Paparian and Mayor Jess Hughston agreed with Cole. Paparian criticized Police Department cutbacks; Hughston said reading the budget, which was usually a cure for insomnia, shocked him and kept him awake.
Director Kathryn Nack, who chairs the city’s Finance Committee, said there is still time to work on the proposal.
Members of the Old Pasadena Business and Professional Assn. also criticized McIntyre for adding an annual $600,000 in new business license taxes.
“I may have missed the mark, and if I have, then this board has the obligation to rearrange the budget,” McIntyre responded. But McIntyre also told board members that their embrace of myriad projects caused budget difficulties. “Everything’s a priority and nothing’s a priority,” he said.
McIntyre--who leaves the city manager’s job June 18 when Toledo, Ohio, City Manager Philip Hawkey takes over--said he cut back departmental funding requests by $4.5 million to bring the budget in line with city revenues.
The budget includes $120 million in general city operating funds, $121 million to run independent city agencies such as the water and power departments, and $23 million for affiliated agencies such as the city convention center and the Community Development Commission, the city’s redevelopment agency.
McIntyre’s budget stressed his commitment to improving the city’s infrastructure, including the new Police Department building and jail, the new Rose Bowl Aquatics Center, relocation and reconstruction of several fire stations, a proposed new public works department building, and the Villa Parke Neighborhood Center.
The budget also included a new maintenance program for resurfacing city streets. The program will be funded primarily with an anticipated $875,000 annually from Proposition 111, the statewide gas-tax increase of 5 cents per gallon, which is on the June 5 ballot. The project would be severely reduced if Proposition 111 fails.
The city’s growth management ordinance, passed in March, 1989, also necessitated the addition of seven positions in the Planning, Building and Neighborhood Services Department and one in the Public Works and Transportation Department, the budget report said. These costs are expected to be paid from new fees associated with growth management.
Also proposed are water rate increases that would raise the average residential water bill from $20.66 to $23.76 a month.
Cutbacks proposed by McIntyre in the Police Department include three motorcycle officers, two parking enforcement workers, a police vice sergeant and two jailer positions.
Staffing reductions equivalent to two full-time positions are also proposed for the Fire Department through elimination of some temporary firefighting jobs.
The Bungalow Heaven Landmark District project, in which changes to historical buildings in a central city district must be approved under new preservation regulations, was recommended for deletion.
Detailed budget deliberations are scheduled in the coming weeks by the city Finance Committee and the board. Directors hope to adopt the city budget by June 12.