City Council members avoided making deep cuts to its municipal budget as South Pasadena residents voted No on N in Tuesday night’s election, making a huge statement by continuing the city’s Utility Users Tax (UTT).
A no vote means the city will not be making approximately $3.4 million in cuts in the fire, police community service departments and the library, along with huge reductions in street repairs and maintenance.
The no votes were 6,000 and the yes votes were 1,623 or 78.71 percent to 21.29 percent.
“This plan shows clearly that the loss of the UUT would bring about a significant and long-lasting reduction in the quality of life in South Pasadena,” said Mayor Richard Schneider before Tuesday’s election. “Everyone in our community would be affected.”
The UUT, which places a 7.5 percent levy on utilities, including cable television, water, electricity and phone service, is the City of South Pasadena’s second largest source of revenue.
Without the UTT, South Pasadena City Manager Stephanie DeWolf, said the following would have been affected:
•Full public library closure on Mondays, reduced hours most other days, and the elimination of all library special programs, technology upgrades and capital improvements.
•The elimination of all crossing guards, police air support, and a school safety officer.
•Layoffs of 12 public safety employees, including three paramedic-firefighters and six police cadets.
•Reduction of about $1 million a year in street repairs and maintenance.
•Elimination of the entire recreation department and all of its programs, including those for seniors and children.
•Elimination of community-based crime-prevention programs.
South Pasadena City Council member Michael Cacciotti, who has been in office since, 2001 retained his seat with an overwhelming victory Tuesday night over challenger Eric Brady.
Cacciotti easily won 72.24 percent to 27.76 percent, picking up 929 votes while Brady finished a distant second with 357 in the District 4 race.
With no challenger, current City Council member Diana Mahmud was voted back into office, winning District 5, with 1,305 votes.
Evelyn Zneimer and Gary Pia retained their positions without opposition. Zneimer had 5,786 as the City Clerk and Gary Pia received 5,745 votes to remain as the city treasurer.
In the Board of Education race, challengers Ruby Kalra and Zahir Robb won seats as Michele Kipke was voted back into office. In the extremely close race, incumbent Julie Giulioni finished fourth and out of the running.
Kalra finished with 4,014 votes, followed by Robb 3,975, Kipke 3740 and Giulioni with 3,740. Ivonne Press, who dropped out race, managed to receive 1,128 votes.