TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL
FROM: ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER/CITY CLERK
DATE: JANUARY 29, 2005
SUBJECT: PROPOSED BUDGET POLICY ISSUES
Review the list of proposed budget policy issues for FY 05-06 and provide staff with direction regarding the inclusion of these items or others identified by Council for discussion at the Budget Policy Issues Workshops.
As a precursor to the Budget Review Sessions that will begin in April, the City Council is scheduled to hold two Budget Policy Issues Workshops on February 26th and March 12th to determine what projects and programs will be included in the draft two-year budget document. Staff typically prepares a report for these workshops that summarizes possible policy issues to assist the City Council in the budget deliberation process. To facilitate this process, staff is seeking Council input on the proposed Budget Policy Issues list. The proposed list compiled by staff consists of policy items identified by staff over the last year, as well as several items that were deferred during the last two-year budget process undertaken in 2003. A brief description of each item is presented below. However, Council should not feel limited by the items identified on the list. Each Council member may have policy issues that they wish to add, modify or delete from the list.
1. NEW POLICY ISSUES IDENTIFIED FOR 2005
Each fiscal year, the City Council determines the level of funding for the Employee Merit Pool and the Employee Incentive Award Program. In addition, two Council members have requested to review of the City’s contributions to employees’ health and retirement benefit programs as part of the current two-year budget cycle.
Staff is proposing to add some new job positions and to modify several existing job titles in order to improve the efficiency of the organization and provide better service to the public.
Staff is seeking direction as to whether the City Council’s travel budget should be increased to facilitate Council member’s attendance and participation at various local, regional and state meetings and boards, as well as to increase interaction with the City’s elected representatives. In a similar vein, the Council may wish to increase the budget for Community Outreach to further improve communication with the residents.
In 2003, the Council established a modest budget for the new multimedia studio at City Hall. With the fiber optic connection from the City’s studio to the cable television operator’s network expected to be completed by March 2005, the Council will be asked to consider what level of funding should be provided for staffing, operating and additional equipment for the studio in order to produce programming for the City’s new local access channel (Channel 33).
The City’s Conceptual Trails Plan was last updated in 1993. Staff is recommending that funding be set aside in the next budget to reorganize and update the Conceptual Trails Plan into a document that will be more useful to staff and the public. In addition, staff would like to include funds to prioritize and complete several trail improvement projects that would benefit the public, but are not associated with a development project.
The City has used contract legal services since its incorporation in 1973. A Council member has requested an analysis and cost comparison between continuing to use contract legal services and hiring an in-house City Attorney.
In 2004, the Council identified providing additional traffic control as one of its goals to address over the next two years. In furtherance of this goal, the Council authorized a Traffic Calming Program in the Mira Verde neighborhood. Last year the Council also considered an initial proposal from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to create TEAM RPV, to provide focused enforcement, education and maintenance on traffic related issues. The Council may wish to consider whether to include funds in the next budget to expand the City’s Traffic Calming Program, implement the TEAM RPV program or investigate other methods of easing speeding, cut-through and parking problems in the community.
At a joint workshop with the Open Space, Planning and Recreation & Parks Task Force in June 2004, the City Council directed staff to build on the process started by the Task Force to prepare a Master Plan for the Civic Center/Upper Point Vicente property. The Council may wish to include funds in the budget to complete a phase II environmental survey of the property and to hire a consultant to assist the City in developing the Master Plan for the site.
2. DEFERRED POLICY ISSUES FROM 2003
This budget item would make electrical modifications to both the Ladera Linda and Hesse Park buildings and purchase a portable generator to allow these facilities to continue to be used during power outages or used as alternative sites for the City’s Emergency Operations Center during disasters.
Staff has received comments from users of Eastview Park that their experience would be improved if there were more shade available adjacent to the playground area. There are few mature trees at this park site. This project would construct a freestanding shade structure. The City has previously installed new playground equipment at this park site based on similar comments received from the public.
A number of visitors to City Hall utilize the entrance to the Community Room directly off the parking lot. This entrance is not well marked, and during the rain there is no protection for people entering and leaving the building. This line item would provide funding to construct a new canopy at the parking lot entrance to the Community Room at City Hall.
First created in FY 99-00, the City’s Building Replacement Fund was established to accumulate monies to finance major building improvements and fund a portion of the cost to replace the main City Hall complex and various park site structures. The City has made transfers from the General fund from FY 99-00 to FY 0203, but discontinued them starting in FY 03-04 due to concerns over the state budget crisis. The Council may wish to resume transfers to this fund in order to provide for the maintenance and possible future replacement of its City Hall and park buildings.
The City discontinued its contract with the previous lobbyist in 2003. However, the City has increased its involvement in federal issues since that time concerning such issues as air traffic control, telecommunications and open space land purchases. The Council may wish to consider hiring a new lobbyist to assist with these and other federal issues affecting the City.
The staff report that will be presented to the City Council at the February 26th Budget Policy Issues Workshop will include an analysis of each of the budget policies presented. None of the funds will be included in the draft budget document without Council authorization. Further, a decision to place any of these items in the draft budget does not preclude the Council from removing it prior to the adoption budget resolution.
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk