City Council Adopts $62-Million Budget

The City Council has approved the city's $62.6-million budget.

The vote Tuesday night was 4 to 1, with Mayor Manuel Lopez dissenting.

"It's not that I don't support this budget," said Lopez. Rather, the mayor opposed a motion by Councilman Thomas E. Holden to revisit a discussion on so-called carry-overs.

Carry-overs, which the city has implemented in the past but has discontinued, would allow departments to keep some or all of the money allocated to them if it goes unspent in a given fiscal year. Holden said carry-overs would allow departments to have a cushion to fall back on.

"I just cannot support a budget that says if you do not spend all your money, you lose it," Holden told council members before the vote. Holden voted to adopt the budget on the condition that a discussion on carry-overs takes place in the near future.

Councilman John C. Zaragoza argued the importance of building the city's reserves, which he said are at about 10%.

"I'd like to see money in the bank for that rainy day," he said, adding the city should strive to increase its reserves to 15%.

City officials took a conservative approach to this year's budget, planning to monitor revenues for the first six months of the 1999-2000 fiscal year and reevaluate the budget in January.

The Police Department will receive by far the highest funding--nearly $25 million.

The council also voted to approve Aldea del Mar, a 294-unit housing development to be built off Snow Avenue between Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Gonzales Road.

The development, by Shea Homes, is scheduled to have 238 traditional single-family homes and 56 duplexes available as soon as next spring.

Aldea del Mar designated 10% of its units as affordable housing, in compliance with the Northeast Specific Plan that sets minimum affordable-housing requirements.

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