Councilwoman Schipske Puts It In Writing, Lists Her Ways To Avert Some Cuts to Police, Fire, Parks & Libraries Using Surplus Funds; Councilman Neal Signals He Believes Mgm't/Mayor Proposed Budget Underestimates Oil Price


(Aug. 26, 2012) -- Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske has advised Councilmembers in writing (five Council votes decide) and the Mayor (no vote, only a veto that six Councilmembers can override) of her proposed plan to avert a number of cuts to police, fire, parks and libraries included in the Mayor/Manager proposed FY13 City Hall budget.

City Hall's uses of what the Mayor/Manager call "one time" funds in FY13 is scheduled for discussion and may (or may not) come to a vote as soon as this Tuesday Aug. 28 at a special 3:30 p.m. City Council budget session. An item on $16.9 million in "one time funds" is agendized for deliberation and potential (not guaranteed) Council voted action. The Council has until September 15 to adopt alternatives, if any, to the Mayor/Manager proposed budget.

Councilwoman Schipske's proposed uses basically follow, with some tweaks, the proposals she outlined at an August 20 community budget meeting in her Council district.

[Schipske memo text to Mayor and Council] Following up with a community budget meeting in the 5th Council District and the input given by residents on line at: it is recommended that the "surplus" funds be distributed in the following manner:

  • Restore the gang and other specialized details in the police department: $3.8 m
  • Restore support services for the police department: $2.3 m
  • Fund the police academy and transport vans: $3.1 m
  • Reduce funding for repair of fire stations to: $1 m
  • Restore youth sports and after school programs: $1.2 m
  • Restore swimming pools: $63,000
  • Restore El Dorado Nature Center, Adaptive Recreation and Senior Center programming: $364,000
  • Restore a portion of the funding for Library Services: $400,000
  • Restore sidewalk repair money: $1 m
  • Fund infrastructure repair of park facilities: $1 m
  • Fund reserves: $1 m
  • Invest in software/systems necessary to improve human resources management/billing/collections: $2 m
  • Total: $18 million (with assumption that oil monies have been underestimated)

    These recommendations restore core services that provide public safety and quality of life for our residents.

  • Meanwhile, Councilman Steven Neal -- who last year joined Councilwoman Schipske and now-former Councilwoman Rae Gabelich in proposing to use uplands oil revenue to avert Mayor/Manager proposed budget cuts -- has questioned the Mayor/Management's assumed oil price of $65/barrel. Participants at his recent 9th Council district budget meeting indicated they believe the price will be at least $75/barrel for FY13; it's roughly $90 a barrel now but is admittedly volatile.

    City Management and the Mayor propose using $16.9 million in "one-time resources" [data source: Community Budget Book, p. 12: $10.9 million in one-time oil over $55/bbl; $3.6 million ambulance billing back payment available due to AB 678; $1.8 million remaining Refuse Fund street sweeping nexus back payment; $585,000 one-time SERFF tip fee differential) as follows:

  • Provide funding to bring Fire Stations into conformance with Title VII gender equity requirements and transition to new paramedic service model [1 paramedic + EMT, instead of 2 paramedics for emergency responses]: $4 million
  • Parking citations, billing systems and accounts payable decentralization project costs: $1.428 million
  • Installation of library self-checkout technology: $400,000
  • Supplemental funding for Police Academy; Prisoner transport vans: $3.125 million
  • Rancho Los Cerritos capital improvement: $500,000
  • Down payment on a new financial and human resources system and other needed technological improvements: $7.480 million

    Mayor Foster has repeatedly opposed using what he calls one time revenue [with limited exceptions] for ongoing expenses, reserving it for one-time uses, mainly infrastructure items. During last year's budget cycle, six Councilmembers -- Garcia, Lowenthal, DeLong, O'Donnell, Andrews, Johnson -- voted down a budget alternative proposed by Schipske-Neal-Gabelich that would averted a number of Management/Mayor budget cuts using uplands oil revenue.

    In addition to discussing uses of "one time" funds, the Council's August 28 budget session is scheduled to discuss the proposed FY13 Harbor Dept. Budget, Proposed Alternatives to the Proposed Parks, Recreation and Marine Budget and proposed budget for the Dept. of Financial Management.

    On August 7, the Council discussed the Mayor/Manager proposed budgets for police, fire, parks/rec and library services at a single Council meeting. This produced lengthy Council questioning, discussion and some opposition to some of the proposed budget reductions. Meanwhile, members of the public waited for over three hours before being allowed three minutes to speak on all four Departments as a package (and many audience members simply left). plans to carry LIVE video of the Council (special meeting) budget session on Tuesday, Aug. 28 (scheduled start time 3:30 p.m.) on our front page:

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