As Glendale City Council progresses through the annual budget process, most of its members appeared satisfied at a meeting last week when the city’s financial director explained that the size of city services would not change next year.

“There are no service level enhancements at this point  -  clearly there could be feedback contrary in these budget meetings,” said the city’s financial director Tom Duensing at the outset of the March 24 budget workshop

He also said, as he started his presentation, that the budget he is preparing assumes, among other things, “no reductions in service levels.”

Jamie Aldama was the only councilmember who asked Duensing, at the end of his presentation, if they could talk about changing service levels at a future meeting.

“So, are you going to speak to that at all during the budget process at all? And would we have an opportunity to bring some of those increased service levels to you during the process for you to at least look at? And when would that be appropriate? At the next budget meeting?” Aldama asked.

“We could, depending on what that request is, of course,” Duensing replied. “Additional services are additional resources and compete directly with financial stability.”

City staff would have to “articulate the consequences of that,” he added.

A review of past city finances indicates the city has sometimes picked winners and losers when it comes to the resources that departments receive and whether they get to boost or have to decrease their service levels.

Over the last seven fiscal years, from 2007-08 to 2014-15, salaries and personnel have held fairly steady for a number of departments at City Hall, according to the city’s official budget books:

  • $2,322,853 (27) to $2,513,953 (25) in the city’s attorney’s office,
  • $497,257 (6) to $515,469 (6) in the city clerk’s office,
  • $784,833 (13) to $840,315 (12) in the city council’s office,
  • $363,665 (7) to $385,904 (5.5) in the community action program,
  • $656,663 (10) to $702,679 (6) in economic development,
  • $2,721,605 (41.25) to $2,943,295 (35.75) in human services,
  • $2,707,699 (30) to $2,626,325 (27) for information technology,
  • $375,216 (4) to $342,366 (3) for intergovernmental programs,
  • $723,322 (7.5) to $716,192 (7) for management and budget,
  • $333,519 (4) to $261,937 (3) in the mayor’s office, and
  • $12,997,028 (186) to $13,194,621 (183.75) in utilities.

Several departments have seen modest to significant cuts to their payroll and number of employees over those years:

  • $3,941,178 (53.75) to $2,021,018 (22.75) for building safety.
  • $371,328 (4) to $291,861 (2.5) in the city auditor’s office,
  • $3,781,758 (51) to $3,350,237 (42.7) at city court,
  • $1,055,536 (8) to $815,551 (5) in the city manager’s office,
  • $1,389,488 (21.5) to $1,101,506 (14) in code compliance,
  • $3,558,585 (45) to $1,749,514 (22) in engineering,
  • $16,911,750 (280) to $11,743,885 (178) in field operations,
  • $5,306,751 (84.75) to $3,878,950 (56.5) for financial services,
  • $2,648,984 (30) to $1,769,103 (20.75) in human resources,
  • $6,760,060 (87.76) to $3,167,317 (43.5) in library and arts,
  • $8,669,233 (99.25) to $3,252,273 (54) in parks and recreation,
  • $1,654,827 (21) to $754,147 (8) in the planning department,
  • $2,377,798 (26.5) to $1,569,703 (17.5) in marketing and communications, and
  • $6,190,946 (89.25) to $4,241,702 (59.25) in transportation.

A couple of departments were given the money to augment their wages, salaries and benefits, if not also the number of people working for them:

  • $27,600,064 (263.5) to $31,807,481 (281) in the fire department, and
  • $50,467,826 (557.5) to $62,701,032 (546.5) in the police department.

The city is expected to distribute detailed books containing its proposed 2015-16 budget to the council and the public April 3. People can use those books to see whether salary and personnel figures for departments are expected to rise or fall.

The council will review departmental budgets during budget workshops April 14 and 21.

Duensing and other city administrators will then spend five weeks incorporating feedback from the council into a tentative budget scheduled for a vote May 26.

The council has until its final vote June 9 to make further modifications to that budget, as long as the total dollar figure does not exceed what was agreed to May 26.