Burbank officials this week proposed cutting roughly 2% — or $2.5 million — from the city’s $149-million General Fund budget, which pays for most public services.
The proposal also addresses soaring employee pension costs by allocating $9 million to help pay down the city’s $252-million unfunded pension liability.
Each $1 million the city pays now toward its unfunded liability — the shortfall when comparing the obligation to employees and retirees to the value of the city's assets held with the California Public Employees’ Retirement System — amounts to $80,000 a year in General Fund savings, officials said.
According to that formula, the city coffers would realize $720,000 in annual savings if the plan is approved.
The proposed budget also allocates $1.2 million a year for the next five years for repairs to the city’s deteriorating streets, a major complaint among Burbank residents.
To save costs, Interim City Manager Ken Pulskamp proposed scraping the city’s biennial primary election for a savings of $72,346 a year. The move would require voter approval, but officials must still decide whether to add a measure to the 2015 election ballot.
Even with the cuts, Pulskamp hailed the budget plan as “historic.”
“We’ve done all that right after a terrible recession and the dissolution of redevelopment,” Pulskamp said. “It’s really a budget designed to position the city for the future.”
Even so, with the proposed cuts, the budget is balanced “by only the narrowest of margins,” officials said in a report.
“There’s no fat in these budgets,” Pulskamp said.
But officials project that sales and property taxes increases of 1.3% and 2%, respectively, and various service fee hikes — including for ambulance fees, and pool and Starlight Bowl rentals — will give Burbank a revenue boost.
A public hearing on the budget is slated for June 4.
-- Alene Tchekmedyian, email@example.com