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Budget session goes into gear

Laura Sturza

The city’s executive team will present the results of months of

numbers crunching -- designed to come up with a balanced budget -- at

a Wednesday study session with the City Council.

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Balancing the budget means making up for an $8.6-million

anticipated deficit for fiscal year 2003-04. Reduced revenues are

expected because of less income from utility-users and

transient-occupancy taxes, and lowered interest rates, which affect

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city investments. Higher expenses are mainly the result of employee

compensation and benefits packages.

The study sessions are not expected to address potential cuts from

the state, which has a budget shortfall of about $35 billion.

“We’re going to do it without considering the state,” Financial

Services Director Derek Hanway said. “Let’s say the state comes back

in summertime and takes some revenue. Then we’ll have to go back and

develop a plan to deal with that.”

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Midyear reductions recently passed by the state did not affect

Burbank, Hanway said, though $300,000 was taken from the city’s

general fund and $900,000 from the Redevelopment Agency earlier in

the fiscal year.

“We’re still early to have a proposed budget,” Hanway said. “What

we’re intending to communicate are the recommendations for reductions

and/or fee increases.”

City Council members will continue their public review of proposed

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cuts, which could be up to 10% in some departments, in three or four

meetings, although those meetings had not been scheduled by Friday. A

proposed budget is expected to be completed in early May, Hanway

said. The final budget is expected to be adopted by the City Council

in June.

“When the council gets to look at the budget in detail and

measures that against the revenues, there are going to be some very,

very difficult decisions to make,” said Dave Newsham, interim

Assistant City Manager. “It has to impact services and it has to

impact employees.”

Public Works Director Bruce Feng declined to release his

department’s specific suggestions before Wednesday’s meeting.

“We are reserving the details so that the council knows first what

the proposed balanced budget [will be],” Feng said.

But Park, Recreation and Community Services Director Mike Flad

released preliminary proposals last month during discussions with his

board. These include fee changes for senior programs like bingo,

which would go from $1 to $2, and charging $5 more monthly for

after-school child care, which would bring the rate from $110 to

$115.

The study session is open to the public and is scheduled for 6

p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, Council Chamber, 275 E. Olive Ave.


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