After weeks of discussions at numerous budget workshops, Glendale City Council has approved a tentative 2019-20 fiscal year budget for $736 million, an increase of $47 million over the previous year.
Final budget approval is slated for June 11. Then, the final property tax levy is slated for adoption June 25.
The budget includes increased council staffing costs of $114,945, with the possible addition of two council assistant positions; fire department salary reductions of $366,319; and an increased contingency fund of $249,773.
When broken down, the budget includes $430 million in operating expenditures, $87 million in debt service, a $181 million capital improvement program and $38 million in contingency.
Mayor Jerry Weiers voiced his approval.
“For a budget that is nearly three quarters of a billion dollars, I think the city has done an outstanding job, and the direction we are going is very well,” Weiers said. “There are some questions that people would like answered, but the city is on a great trajectory.”
Barrel District Councilman Bart Turner was the lone dissenting vote in the 6-1 approval.
“Development and adoption of a budget is more than just allocation of dollars to departments,” Turner explained. “This budget creates new positions within our structure, and as far as I can recall I have yet to receive job descriptions for the two deputy manager positions, which would showcase qualifications and objectives for those positions.”
The council had, earlier in the same meeting, approved amendments to the city code by creating an independent audit program and audit committee. (See related story.)
And Turner argued the new program is not using taxpayer funds wisely.
“It is important in the budget process that we do our very best to safeguard taxpayer funds, and I don’t believe the change in the audit program does that. And for that I vote ‘No,’” Turner said.
But City Manager Kevin Phelps, in a statement, said the budget increased by 6.8% from 2018 to 2019, and explained that the goal of the budget is to “ensure delivery and resource allocation aligned with council policy through the entire organization and included numerous initiatives.”
Some highlights contained in the budget are increases to park maintenance, the Glendale Works homeless program and the new Heroes Regional Park Branch Library. (See related story.) The city’s capital improvement program also includes more than $1.1 billion for fiscal years 2020-29, with $181 million the coming fiscal year.
“For FY19-20, the city will be positioned to meet the service level requirements of our citizens and customers, while striving to provide more efficient and effective services using a strategic management framework,” Phelps said.
“This is an exciting time for the Glendale community as the city rebounds financially, is viewed by the business community as a valued partner, continues to serve its citizens through quality amenities and service delivery and matures from a leadership and organizational development perspective to be the community of choice for our residents, businesses and employees.”