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$59-Million Stand-Pat City Budget for Redondo

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A proposed $59-million city budget, featuring higher business license and developers’ fees, will be considered by the Redondo Beach City Council in public hearings Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

City Manager Tim Casey said the budget, which includes no new programs or services and only $250,000 in discretionary funds, represents “a new decade of financial challenge” for the city that “will not be characterized by the dramatic revenue growth experienced during the 1980s.”

Casey said the extraordinary growth during the 1980s of the city’s largest source of revenue, local property taxes, is not expected to continue in the ‘90s. Next year, he said, property tax revenue is expected to increase by $900,000, or 11%, down from the 13% to 14% increases of the last four years.

Casey said that if the trend continues, it probably will not necessitate future budget cuts but will restrict the city from adding programs and staff and may force it to consider new sources of tax money. Revenue from property taxes next year is estimated to be $9.7 million.

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The proposed 1990-91 budget includes a 6% across-the-board increase in business license fees to match what Casey said is the local inflation rate. It also includes a 17% increase in building fees, plan-check fees, planning fees and other fees charged to developers, as well as a 6% increase in assessments for street lighting and landscaping districts and a yet-to-be-determined increase in garbage collection rates.

The budget includes $7.25 million in capital improvements such as seismic work on the city’s main library and pier parking structure. Casey said the library will probably have to be relocated while its building in Veterans Park is brought into compliance with a new state law requiring that all unreinforced masonry buildings be earthquake-proofed.

The budget proposes spending $70,000 for exterior repairs to two historic homes in the city’s Heritage Court project in Dominguez Park, an item that may generate some controversy because initially the City Council agreed to preserve those houses with the understanding that they would be renovated with donations and volunteer labor.

Another $100,000 has been proposed as a target budget for the city’s Centennial Committee, which will coordinate events for Redondo Beach’s 100th anniversary in 1992.

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Other proposed items include capital outlays for replacing parking meters, a fire hose, police investigative equipment, and lighting and sound equipment for the Aviation Park auditorium; money to cover the cost of holding city elections in 1991; funding for additional part-time librarians to meet public demand for reference desk services, and $462,000 to cover increased medical, dental and life insurance premiums for city employees.

The $250,000 in discretionary funds could go to any number of pet projects suggested in the past year by City Council members and Mayor Brad Parton.

Parton has expressed particular interest in forming a commission to address the needs of the city’s teen-agers. And he said at Tuesday’s council meeting that, in light of the city vote in favor of rebuilding the Redondo Beach Pier, he will propose a massive increase in the allotment for pier maintenance.

Councilman Terry Ward and Councilwoman Barbara Doerr have several times suggested beefing up the police force. Other council suggestions have included reducing the city’s utility user tax and creating a Visitor and Tourism Council.

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