A second community meeting to gather input on the City of South Pasadena’s long-range budget forecast is scheduled for Sunday, March 24, at the South Pasadena Senior Center.
During the 2 p.m. meeting at 1102 Oxley Street, residents will be asked to provide input on potential options to close the anticipated budget gap, according to South Pasadena City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe, noting the city’s long-range budget forecast shows increased deficits during the next five years.
In past years, South Pasadena has been successful in developing and approving a balanced general fund budgets while continuing to provide quality services to its residents.
The city now faces some financial challenges, particularly and most importantly with regard to the pension contributions that the city is required to make to the California Public Employees Retirement System of which the city is a member.
No decisions will be made immediately. City staff will return to the City Council with recommendations based on the input received during the public outreach. The focus, DeWolfe said, will be on long-range financial health.
In recent years the City has increased spending on street repairs and water infrastructure, including the replacement of three aging reservoirs. City staff has identified nearly $100 million in critical infrastructure spending needs, with funding identified for just half of the projects.
“Our goal is not just to balance the next budget or two, but to consider the long-term financial sustainability of the city,” DeWolfe explained. “We want to create a sustainable system for decades to come.”
DeWolfe said the city has historically managed its budgets conservatively. The projected budget increases are driven by two primary factors, DeWolfe said: strategic investment in City infrastructure, and increased costs of pension obligations. In addition, the payments that the City makes to CalPERS, the state’s public employee pension system, are set to increase in coming years.
By finding solutions now, DeWolfe said, South Pasadena has time to develop revenue sources to close the budget gap over the next several years.
“By addressing the budget issues proactively, we can begin to create new revenue streams,” she said. “Throughout March we will present options to the community and ask residents to help us prioritize.”