South Pasadena City Council members adopted a financial plan last week that would cut $3.4 million from the municipal budget if a challenge to the city’s Utility Users Tax (UUT) receives a yes vote in November.
Police, fire, library and community service department layoffs, along with substantial reductions in planned street repairs and maintenance, would all be affected if the UUT is eliminated from city coffers..
Those favoring the continuation of the tax to save many programs and services are urging South Pasadena residents to cast a “no” vote at the polls.
The council voted unanimously to adopt the draft implementation plan at its Sept. 19 meeting.
South Pasadena City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe said the UUT accounts for about 12 percent of the city’s general fund by placing a 7.5 percent levy on utilities such as cable television, water, electricity and phone service. She also said the UUT is the city’s second largest source of revenue behind property taxes.
The city is obligated to prepare for the loss of UUT revenue through a draft implementation plan, DeWolfe said. The plan was informed by the results of a recent community survey that asked South Pasadena residents, among other topics, which services they would cut if the UUT were to be repealed.
The draft implementation plan adopted by the Council September 19 includes:
- Layoffs of 12 public safety employees, including three paramedic-firefighters and six police cadets.
- The elimination of all City crossing guards, police air support, and a school safety officer.
- Full public library closure on Mondays, reduced hours most other days, and the elimination of all library special programs, technology upgrades and capital improvements.
- 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.
The UUT is being challenged by a Pasadena-based group that has gathered the required number of signatures to place a repeal on the November ballot.
For more information on the UUT, visit the City’s web site at www.southpasadenaca.gov.
Two Commissions not to Merge – Yet
A first reading and introduction of an ordinance amending a section to extend the sunset period of the Public Works Commission (PWC) by an additional year and adopt a resolution extending the term limits of the currently seated commissioners of the Freeway and Transportation Commission (FTC) and PWC by an additional year was approved by the council 5-0.
In August, city staff recommended the dissolution of both the FTC and PWC to create a new MIPC due to the PWC’s original sunset date in November and the anticipated conclusion of the 710 Freeway North Project.
In response to public comments received regarding the proposed merger, city staff amended their recommendation to postpone the proposed merger by one year in anticipation of the Gov. Brown signing legislation removing the 710 North stubs from the State Highway Code and to direct city staff to introduce an ordinance extending the sunset date of the PWC by one year. During the August meeting, the council voted to extend the PWC sunset date by one year, extend the current terms for expiring commissioners for one year and for staff to bring back recommendations regarding PWC and FTC agenda overlaps.
In a 5-0 vote, the council approved the fiscal-year 2018-19 Water Conservation Rebate Program and authorized of a budget amendment for water conservation capital improvement projects.
The Fiscal Year (FY) 2018-19 water conservation rebates in the amount of $150,000 funded from the existing FY 2018-19 water efficiency fee project budget and authorize a budget amendment of $150,000 from the water efficiency fee fund balance to establish a water conservation capital improvement project program with the amendments suggested by Councilmember Mahmud.
The City of South Pasadena annually adopts a water conservation program funded through a water efficiency fee billed to all water customers in the city.
Engineering Consulting Services
The council voted 5-0 to award a contract to Interwest Consulting Group, Inc., for As-Needed Traffic Engineering Consulting Services.
South Pasadena City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe was given authorization by the council to sign a contract with Interwest Consulting Group, Inc., for a not-to-exceed amount of $30,000 for as-needed traffic engineering consulting services for fiscal Year 2018-19.
Interwest Consulting Group, Inc., a full-service engineering firm based in Huntington Beach, will be asked to perform traffic studies, traffic counts, signal-timing modifications and the handling of various other technical related to traffic. They have provided similar traffic engineering services to San Marino, Eastvale and Lancaster.
City reports contributed to this article. Look for separate stories regarding a police-involved shooting and the sale of Caltrans houses.