Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

TO:

RECOMMENDATION:

Select an alternative for re-allocation of the City Council Meeting and Conference Budget.

BACKGROUND:

The fiscal year 2002-03 Budget includes $25,500 for City Council travel, training and conference expenses. Each Councilmember is allocated $4,500 to utilize as they wish (within City Council policies for eligible expenditures) and an additional $3,000 is budgeted for extraordinary meeting and conference expenses that are approved by the City Council.

Traditionally, the full Council has attended the Contract Cities Legislative Seminar in Sacramento and the Contract Cities Annual Conference in Palm Springs. Other conferences/seminars that Councilmembers have attended this year include the Contract Cities Fall Conference, the League of Cities Annual Conference and the League of Cities Mayor and Councilmembers Academy. Each of these conferences costs about $1,200 for registration, travel, lodging and meals. In addition to these major events, the costs of attending local functions related to other organizations that the City supports is also charged against the $4,500 allocation for each Councilmember.

Over the past ten years City Councilmembers have not been active in the California League of Cities programs. However, with the adoption of the "Grassroots Network" program and the strong stands taken by the League over the past year several Councilmembers have become more active in League participation. Councilmember Clark has become particularly active in the League and is a member of the League Revenue and Taxation Policy Committee and the League Technology Committee. He also developed and successfully carried a policy resolution regarding undergrounding of utilities through the League hierarchy including the Los Angeles Division, the Public Works, Transportation and Communications Policy Committee, the Resolutions Committee and the General Assembly. In addition, Councilmember Clark has been active in California Contract Cities. He also made a special trip to Sacramento representing the City in support of the Peninsula School District financing issues. Currently Councilmember Clark has expended approximately $3,400 of his allocated $4,500. Mayor McTaggart has also become more active in the League and recently was appointed to the League Task Force on Water Quality. His participation in the Task Force has already required one trip to Sacramento for a meeting and will probably require at least one more this fiscal year.

On November 20, 2002 there were $17,152 of unexpended funds remaining in the City Council Meetings and Conferences account. Last year, the City Council spent a total of $12,616 of the allocated $25,500 from this account.

DISCUSSION:

There appear to be adequate funds in the adopted budget to accommodate the anticipated Council meeting and conference plans for the remaining six months of the fiscal year. However, the $4,500 limitation for each Councilmember appears to be inadequate in light of active Council participation in both the League and Contract Cities.

There are a number of alternative approaches to addressing the allocation of these funds:

  1. The City Council may choose to simply increase the allocation for each Councilmember by an equal amount, thereby increasing the Meeting and Conference budget.
  2. The City Council may choose to keep the Meeting and Conference budget at the current amount ($25,500) and simply reallocate the remaining funds for each Councilmember based on his/her plans for the next six months of the fiscal year.
  3. The Council may choose to allocate all, or a portion, of the $3,000 unallocated funds to Councilmember Clark to offset the costs of travel on behalf of the city Council in support of the School District and in carrying the Underground Resolution through the League committees.
  4. A member of the City Council may request that a portion of his/her funds be re-allocated to Councilmember Clark or other Councilmembers.

The various alternatives are further described in the matrix below.

ALTERNATIVE

IMPLEMENTATION

PROBABLE RESULT

Increase Meeting and Conference budget.

Allocate $9,000 to each Councilmember and increase total budget by $22,500.

Very unlikely that the Council will actually expend more than the $25,500 currently budgeted.

Reallocate funds based on each Councilmember’s proposed meeting and conference schedule for the next six months.

Councilmembers would identify their probable funding needs and request approval of an appropriation to meet the need.

Based on the historical record it is unlikely that the overall funding requests would exceed the $25,500 currently budgeted.

Allocate a portion of Councilmember Clark’s meeting and conference costs to the $3,000 of unallocated funds.

The trips to Sacramento, Monrovia and Long Beach in support of the League underground resolution, the trip to Sacramento with the School District and attendance at the League Legislative Days in Sacramento could be considered extraordinary meeting and conference expenses.

The reallocation would probably not be enough to fund Councilmember Clark’s continued participation in both the League and Contract Cities over the next six months.

Offer the opportunity for a Councilmember to transfer his/her anticipated unused meeting and conference funds to other Councilmembers.

Each Councilmember could consider whether he/she may have funds in excess of their anticipated meeting and conference needs that they would be willing to relinquish to another Councilmember.

This alternative would allow a Councilmember who knows he/she will not expend all his/her funds to assist another Councilmember without impacting the total budget or allocations of other Councilmembers.

Respectfully submitted,

Les Evans,

City Manager