Council to discuss budget, projects

Huntington Beach City Council members will be briefed during a study session Monday on the city’s long-term financial plan and wrap up their discussion on the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The council will also discuss a proposed bicycle master plan, achieving the designation of a “Compassionate City“ and creating an ad-hoc committee to improve Bartlett Park at the study session and subsequent council meeting.

The study session starts at 4 p.m. in Room B-8, next to council chambers, 2000 Main Street. The council meeting follows at 6 p.m.

The finance department will be updating the City Council on the long-term financial plan, which was created in 2008, spokeswoman Laurie Frymire said.

The long-term financial plan allows the city “to forecast cause and effect relationships for large financial decisions such as employee labor contracts, capital projects, service enhancements, as well as revenue fluctuations due to the weakening economy or state takeaways,” according to city documents.

Staff will assess new projections for the city’s finances for the next five years and update the council on its findings.

Regarding the proposed 2013-14 budget, city staff has given council members some positive news: It’s the first time since the recession in 2008 that the city balanced the budget without making cuts.

Staff is proposing a $313.6 million budget, with general fund revenue projected at $193.5 million.

City leaders were recently told of proposed capital improvement projects planned for the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

Around $37.5 million is suggested to be allocated for infrastructure improvements, such as street rehabilitation and water system improvements.

The long-awaited senior center was not budgeted in the Capital Improvement Program. However, $1.5 million was put aside as seed money for the project in the proposed budget.

A public hearing for the 2013-14 budget is scheduled for Sept. 3 and council members will have until Sept. 30 to adopt it.

Meanwhile, the city will also be briefed on a proposed bicycle master plan, which will focus on creating an infrastructure for bicycle riders.

Planners are looking to add multi-use pathways, bike lanes and routes throughout the city.

It will also look to create programs to educate riders and drivers about safety and sharing the road with one another.

Later in the meeting, Mayor Connie Boardman plans to present an item to get the city recognized as a “Compassionate City.”

Boardman wrote in a staff report that cities like Seattle and Houston have joined a global campaign to “raise awareness of the benefits of compassion.”

If passed, the mayor will work with the Interfaith Council to devise a plan to have Huntington Beach recognized with that title.

Lastly, Councilwoman Jill Hardy and Councilman Joe Carchio are asking the dais to approve the creation of an ad-hoc committee that will help develop Bartlett Park.

The council members are looking to make the park safer after two bodies were found following an alleged murder-suicide.

The park has also had a history of criminal behavior, about which 16 incident reports have been filed since 2011.

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