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    City Mgm't Warns Council: Revenue Trending Below Target, Expenses Trending Above; If Spending Patterns Don't Change, Prepare For "Reallocations Of Resources And Curtailment Of Planned Services"; Council's Budget Oversight Committee Recommends: "Receive & File"

    (June 19, 2007) -- In an item recommended to be "received and filed" (no action taken) on the City Council's June 19 "consent calendar" (no public discussion unless requested by a Councilmember or a taxpayer), senior City Hall management has warned Councilmembers -- who ultimately control City Hall spending -- that half-way through the FY 07 budget year revenue is trending below target, expenditures continue to trend higher than budget...and "if spending patterns do not change, the City must be prepared for reallocations of its available resources and curtailment of planned services."

    In a May 22 memo to Councilmembers, Director of Financial Management Mike Killebrew says Council-invited, Mayor-approved negotiated police officer salary increases will consume all currently anticipated structural revenue growth through FY 09...while recruitment efforts and pay incentives haven't produced anticipated reductions in overtime [used by prior management to camouflage officer staffing shortfalls].

    Mr. Killebrew's memo says the Police Dept. expects to exceed its FY 07 General Fund budget by nearly $6.7 million (about 4%). "The City Auditor's Office is reviewing Police overtime practices to assist in determining the validity of the underlying assumption that overtime usage should decrease as vacancies decrease," Mr. Killebrew's memo says.

    And Mr. Killebrew had some other less than rosy news for Councilmembers who determine City Hall's spending:

    "After six months of the fiscal year, overall revenues are trending below target, while expenditures continue to trend higher than budget. With 50 percent of the fiscal year complete, approximately 48.3 percent of anticipated General Fund revenue has been collected..."

    On the other side of the ledger, General Fund expenditures "are expected to come in at 101.1 percent of the adjusted budget, which is $4 .3 million above the adjusted budget which reflects expenditures associated with the second half of the fiscal year, including salary adjustments and summer programs . The City Manager's Officer has taken proactive measures to address the projected expenditure overage by soliciting recommendations from department directors to contain expenditures where appropriate," Mr. Killebrew says.

    The memo notes that the Council's Budget Oversight Committee (BOC) (chair, DeLong; vice-chair O'Donnell; member B. Lowenthal] began holding monthly meetings to monitor current year budget performance and discuss issues impacting future budgets.

    On May 22, the Council referred Mr. Killebrew's memo to its "Budget Oversight Committee" [DeLong (chair), B, Lowenthal, O'Donnell]. At a May 30 Committee meeting, Mr. Killebrew made a presentation paralleling his written report; committe members (mainly DeLong) asked a few questions...and are now sending the report back to the Council without recommendations beyond "receive and file" (take no action).

    The immediate past chair of [and catalyst for creating] the Council's Budget Oversight Committee is former 6th district Councilwoman, now-Assemblymember Laura Richardson (D., Carson-LB), one of 17 candidates seeking to succeed the late Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald (D., Carson-LB).

    Budget Oversight Committeemember/Vice Mayor Bonnie Lowenthal is expected in 2008 to seek the Assembly seat currently held by Assemblywoman Betty Karnette (D., LB). LB Councilwoman Tonia Reyes Uranga is also an announced candidate for the same Assembly seat.

    Mr. Killebrew's memo -- one of the last issued under now-former City Manager Jerry Miller -- concludes:

    With General Fund expenditures trending above budget and revenues dipping under budget for the first half of the fiscal year, and concerns expressed about achieving certain one-time revenues, it is imperative that the City reaffirms its intent to be fiscally prudent for the remaining six months . If spending patterns do not change, the City must be prepared for reallocations of its available resources and curtailment of planned services. Looking to the future, we must not lose sight of the fact that the City must address upcoming employee negotiations, its existing retiree health commitments, the seismic integrity of -City Hall, future costs associated with the . POA labor agreement and critical infrastructure needs, including aging police and fire stations, sidewalks, streets, pipelines and underground storage tanks . These challenges will only be exacerbated if departments cannot provide services at a level commensurate with their City Council approved budgets.

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