South Pasadena City officials warn of a serious budget deficit facing the city that is expected to grow over the next five years. Community outreach efforts to effectively confront the issue are in the works for the month of March.
The city is set to launch a comprehensive plan, hearing from the public, to gain input on potential solutions to the deficit.
The city’s goal, according to John Pope, South Pasadena’s public information officer, is to take steps “to close the budget gap using an approach that is most acceptable by the community,” he said in a city report on a new Budget Outreach Communication Plan, designed to map out strategies and tactics to educate target audiences about the budget, the challenges it presents, and the potential solutions to the deficit.
Projections for the deficit will be presented during the March 6 City Council meeting, starting at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, 1424 Mission Street.
To get the word out on the Budget Outreach Communications Plan, city officials will gain input from business owners, finance commissions members, City Council members, local employees, residents and the media.
“We want to make sure that our residents’ voices are heard, and that the input is factored into the final budget plan,” South Pasadena City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe said in a statement. “ By addressing the budget issues proactively, we can begin to create new revenue streams. But before we do, it’s critical that we present options to the community and ask residents to help us prioritize.”
Pope explained that retaining the UUT in November 2018 did not eliminate the budget deficit. City officials say had the city lost the UUT, it would have resulted in huge and immediate cuts in vital services in the city on top of the deficit.
Potential solutions to the budget deficit may be controversial, noted Pope in a Budget Outreach Communications Plan outline, but he said all options for community input will be considered.