The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve a
proposed budget for the 2003-04 fiscal year that makes cuts in a
variety of areas in order to make up for a projected $9.5-million
After approving the budget, Councilman Dave Golonski encouraged
all city officials to begin preparing for next year’s expected cuts
“The more time we have to find ways to deliver services, the more
creative ways we can find to meet the challenges in front of us,” he
The deficit is the result of a variety of factors, including
increasing costs in employee compensation and benefits as well as
general liability and workers’ compensation costs. Each department
head was instructed to cut up to 10% from their respective budgets,
and they presented their recommendations to the council in May.
A total of 62 full-time positions are being eliminated, and
Management Services Director John Nicoll said 50 of those positions
are already vacant. Ten of the remaining employees are above
retirement age and were offered a supplemental retirement package. To
lessen the effect on the two remaining employees to be laid off, the
council opted to fund their positions for an additional six months.
Among the fee increases are a $10 jump in the cost of adopting a
previously altered dog and a $15 jump in the cost for dogs altered by
the city. Monthly parking permits will increase in cost from $20 to
$24, while film permits will go from $200 to $300.
Despite a series of discussions on the proposed cuts, council
members still found budget points to tinker with at Tuesday’s
Councilwoman Marsha Ramos proposed, and council members agreed, to
continue to fund a probation-officer position at the Burbank Outreach
Center that had been targeted for elimination. The position is half
funded by the city and half by the county, with the city paying
$60,000 annually, City Manager Mary Alvord said. The council agreed
to continue funding the position, but reserved the right to
reconsider if the county withdraws its funding.
Following a public hearing last week, the council also agreed to
eliminate a proposed hike in the transient-parking tax from the
budget. To fund that and other additions to the originally proposed
budget, the city will use $1.49 million set aside from recent
electric-rate increases by Burbank Water and Power.
While the cuts will balance the city’s budget, it does not include
any potential funding reductions from the state, which is also facing
a significant deficit. Mayor Stacey Murphy said much of the city’s
planning for the future will depend on how much the state cuts its
“There’s not much use in going far down the road until we hear
what the state is going to do to us,” she said.