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Facing challenges from the pandemic, Huntington Beach to consider adoption of 2020-21 budget

Angelina Franklin, 57, wears an astronaut costume as she waves American flags at the Huntington Beach Pier on Friday.
Angelina Franklin, 57, of El Monte, wears an astronaut costume as she waves American flags at the Huntington Beach Pier on Friday.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Huntington Beach officials will consider adoption of the city budget on Monday for the 2020-21 fiscal year, which addresses current fiscal challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and begins in July.

City Manager Oliver Chi presented a proposed 2020-21 budget during a study session at a June 1 City Council meeting, saying that the city’s general fund budget revenues are projected at $216.9 million for the 2020-21 fiscal year, $20 million less than the 2019-20 projected revenues of $236.9 million prior to COVID-19.

A revised presentation was subsequently presented to the council on June 15 and continued to Monday’s meeting.

The current proposed budget sits at $359 million including a general fund balance of $216.9 million, according to a staff report prepared for Monday’s meeting.

Up for discussion is whether to authorize the implementation of the CalPERS early retirement program for eligible candidates and/or implementation of a self-designed retirement plan to reduce current city staff by about 5%. Both proposals were also presented on June 1.

Huntington Beach has 294 city employees currently eligible to retire. Chi said earlier this month that if at least 15% of them participate in a CalPERS early retirement program, it would result in annualized savings of at least $6.2 million.

Another option to be discussed is the potential for layoffs.

The council is also expected to adopt a Gann Limit, which curtails the amount of revenue that can be appropriated in a given fiscal year.

Monday’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. and can be watched on channel HBTV-3 or online at huntingtonbeach.legistar.com. Residents are encouraged to send comments on agenda items to SupplementalComm@Surfcity-hb.org.

All communications received by 2 p.m. Monday to be distributed to the council prior to consideration of agenda-related items.

Residents can also call in at (669) 900-6833 to listen to the meeting and comment during designated periods. The webinar ID is 999 4025 9527. Once a caller has entered the meeting, the caller will be put in a holding queue to speak in order.

The council chamber will also be open for public comment, but social-distancing measures will be in place and, after making their comments, participants will be asked to leave the chambers, and the city will provide an area for viewing the council meeting on television to a limited number of participants.

Time for remarks may be limited.

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