BUENA PARK : Budget in the Black Thanks to Windfall
The City Council approved a $35-million budget this week that was saved from a deficit by a windfall credit from the public retirement system.
The $2-million credit from the state Public Employees’ Retirement System more than offset the projected deficit of more than $250,000, finance director Greg Beaubien said. The state had informed officials in May that the city had a surplus in its PERS account.
Residents may face a raise in water rates later this year, however, to cover a $500,000 deficit in the water fund, Beaubien said.
The city buys water from the Metropolitan and Orange County water districts. Beaubien said the Metropolitan district is in the midst of an infrastructure project and that the city is helpless to keep costs down.
“Being the victim of outside agencies, we are being blackmailed to raise rates to cover those costs,” he said.
Council members balked at a request from the Fire Department for $125,000 in anticipated overtime. After Oct. 1, the city will no longer have its own Fire Department but will contract with the county.
Fire Chief Herb R. Jewell said the department needed the money because two firefighters were on long-term sick leave and others had been sent to special paramedic training sessions. Additionally, the council had decided not to fill two vacancies and those positions had to be covered, he said.
The council approved the overtime, but at the suggestion of Councilman Don R. Griffin, who called $125,000 “excessive” and asked that the city manager closely monitor overtime spending in the Fire Department.
The council agreed, with Councilman Arthur C. Brown and Mayor Donald L. Bone dissenting.