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Council makes few budget revisions

Ben Godar

After spending two of its last three meetings considering budget

recommendations from city department heads, the City Council made few

changes when it addressed the city’s revenue shortfall Thursday

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night.

While about 30 positions would be eliminated in the current

version of the 2003-2004 spending plan, Financial Services Director

Derek Hanway said it appears only two employees will be laid off,

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with the other positions vacated by retirements and other attrition.

Council members asked that those two employees be allowed to

remain in their positions for six months in order to give them time

to find another job, something Councilman Jef Vander Borght said was

a responsible way to use available revenue.

“Anytime you have to lay someone off, you’re impacting a person’s

livelihood and family,” he said. “It’s the humane thing to do.”

Among the other minor changes council members requested to counter

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a projected $9-million budget deficit were the restoration of funds

for training for the city clerk, and for planning board meals. They

also asked that children 12 and younger be exempt from proposed

aquatics fee increases.

While staff are still calculating the cost of the additions to the

budget, Hanway estimated it would come to about $120,000. The

increases will be funded by revenue from the past four Burbank Water

and Power rate increases, which was held in reserve, Hanway said.

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Mayor Stacey Murphy said having council members and department

heads work together throughout the process led to relatively few

changes being proposed at Thursday’s meeting.

“I think the department heads did a good job of making cuts where

they thought they could make them,” she said.

A public hearing on the proposed budget will be held June 10, but

unless significant issues are raised at that session, city officials

said it is unlikely there will be any major revisions to the proposed

budget.

City officials were quick to point out it is still unclear how

much state funding the city will receive, but Hanway said Burbank

should be able to absorb whatever cuts in state aid are made without

significant changes to next year’s budget.

While council members agreed the proposed cuts would have a

minimal impact on city services, Vander Borght said the city might

not be so lucky next year.

“If everything goes as forecasted, we’re still looking at

significant cuts next year,” he said. “That will be even more

difficult.”


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