I have been asked to sign a petition for a ballot measure that would end support for the General Fund (parks, libraries, police, fire and general government, everything not supported by its own revenue base) from part of Glendale’s utility tax. I refused to sign because the repeal will diminish services in Glendale. That loss would consequently diminish the quality of life for Glendale citizens. If Glendale becomes a shabby community, my home investment diminishes along with the desirability of the community. Glendale gets only 13 cents of every property tax dollar; the rest goes to the state. We need some means to pay for the general fund services we rely on.
Approximately 75 to 80% of Glendale’s budget goes to salaries for people who swing shovels, climb poles, provide water and electricity, shelve books and help give your children park programs. It also funds police and the fire department. If you want services, you need employees.
The City Council, the city managers past and present — and the employees providing the services— have done a very good job balancing the budget cuts and delivering a very good level of service with fewer resources in recent years. The city has lost 300 employee positions and cut services. Employee contracts have been renegotiated, to lower costs.
Eventually, the loss of services becomes critical. Eventually, Glendale starts looking like Los Angeles. Once degraded, the services are impossible to restore. Listen carefully to the generalities and the wishful thinking in the promoting of this ballot issue and question how grounded they are in reality. Where is the money coming from to keep up the level of service?