Claremont Insider: City Budget Woes Updated

Sunday, April 27, 2008

City Budget Woes Updated

We have an update to our post from yesterday about the potential financial problems facing the City of Claremont.

Yesterday's Claremont Courier had a blurb about Claremont City Manager Jeff Parker reporting on the budget hit the city could be facing. (The council coverage is not posted on the Courier's website.)

We had reported Saturday that in last week's City Manager report to the City Council Parker said that the city faced a loss of $1 million in state funding. California, which has its own $15 billion-plus budget deficit, could take away municipal funds for public safety, as well as Prop. 1A and Prop. 172 funds. According to the Courier, Parker also said that $1 million is only part of the shortfall the city is looking at. In addition to the state cutbacks, the current economic slowdown has resulted in a decrease of between $2 million and $2.5 million in city revenues.

Consequently, Claremont might have to replace that lost money by taking as much as 17.5% of its $20 million General Fund, or $3.5 million. Last we heard, the City reserves stood at about $4 million.

According to the Courier:

In reaction, Mr. Parker has called for a 2-percent cut on expenditures across the board from city department heads. Vacant positions in the city have been left unfilled, while excessive expenditures are more heavily scrutinized.

I am pretty confident by June when we present the budget to the Council that we are presenting a budget that is balanced, Mr. Parker said.

Mr. Parker said that services in the city will not be affected by the cutbacks.

At least Parker's putting these issues on the table rather than trying to paper them over. It seems not all that long ago that then-Mayor Peter Yao was confidently telling citizens at a council meeting that there was nothing to worry about and that when he visited Sacramento recently, he received assurances that the state's budget crisis wouldn't affect cities.

In the meantime, current Mayor Ellen Taylor is spending as if there there were no problems with the economy. Will somebody, puhleeeese cut up Taylor's city credit card?

Ellen, you know the first step in dealing with your addiction is admitting you have a problem.