The recently adopted operating budget is the city’s financial plan for fiscal year 2011, which began July 1. The FY 2011 budget is consistent with the 2014 financial plan developed during FY 2009: Realign the city’s expenses to resolve current economic realities and the structural deficit in the General Fund. The results will be a reduction of over $80 million in anticipated GF expenses over the five years.
The adopted FY 2011 budget of $725 million includes a General Fund budget of $217 million. The General Fund contains the most flexible funds received by the city and provides funding for services such as police, fire, parks and recreation, transportation and library. The adopted General Fund budget is approximately $8 million less or 3.6% lower than the prior year.
Given that more than 76 percent of the General Fund budget is personnel, the recession and structural deficit made it necessary to reduce personnel costs. Since FY 2009, 138 vacant positions have been eliminated, 108 of which were in the General Fund.
While the economy is gradually growing stronger, Pasadena and other cities, as well as school districts, continue to experience the effects of the slowdown. One of the greatest challenges has been the California legislature’s inability to address the state’s budget problems, and in many cases raiding municipal budgets to make up the difference.
In Pasadena, this means millions of dollars have had to be trimmed from the operating budget. The primary budget strategy has focused on becoming more efficient in how the city operates and delivers services. Unfortunately, it has been necessary to reduce some service levels. For example, hours at branch libraries have been reduced, a four-person ladder fire truck has been taken out of service and vacant staff positions have been eliminated in nearly every department. While some impacts are unavoidable, we are making every effort to continue providing excellent programs and services to Pasadena residents.
Stay informed and involved! There will be opportunities this fall to provide your great ideas about the FY 2012 budget, which will begin July 1, 2011; read more about it in the next issue of Pasadena In Focus. Learn more at www.cityofpasadena.net/citymanager/budget_update.