Culver City : Suggestions on Deficit

The City Council recently heard a number of recommendations to handle a $4-million deficit expected in the next fiscal year. Among the suggestions are an increase in the real estate transfer tax, delays in pay raises, cuts in tree trimming, a levy on property owners for certain city services and use of some reserves.

The recommendations were presented last week with the proposed budget. The council will hold study sessions with city departments and public hearings before adopting the final budget in June.

The city is suffering from sluggish sales and a construction slowdown. Sales tax revenue, the single largest source of funds, will probably only increase 5% to $12 million, according to city officials.

"This has really been a difficult budget year for Culver City" and "we know . . . it's a difficult year for the state, county and school districts," said Bob Norquist, the budget and finance assistant to the chief administrative officer.

"Our long-range prospects are positive given anticipated projects such as Marina Place and the Columbia Studios (expansion)," but the "focus this year needs to be on maintaining our basic service programs," Chief Administrative Officer Dale Jones wrote in a report to the council.

The general fund budget is estimated to be $45.3 million, with the total budget at $78.5 million.

The budget includes money to acquire a site for a bus maintenance facility, $25,000 for the city's 75th anniversary celebration in 1992, and increased costs for liability insurance premiums and worker compensation claims.

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