Members of Women Involved in South Pasadena Political Activism (WISPPA) will hear a long-range city budget forecast Saturday that is expected to show increased deficits over the next several years.
The city is facing significant budget concerns, ranging from $500,000 to $1 million, warns South Pasadena City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe, who held a third public forum on the issue Tuesday as the keynote speaker at the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce monthly ShopTalk, a gathering of local business owners and employees.
Previously, DeWolfe met with residents during a pair of community budget workshops on March 13 in the South Pasadena Library Community Room and again on March 24 at 2 p.m. in the South Pasadena Senior Center.
Her next presentation on Saturday, April 6, begins at 9:30 a.m. in the South Pasadena Senior Center, where she will be joined by Karen Aceves, principal management analyst for city. Refreshments will be served at 9 a.m. during the meeting, which is open to the public.
South Pasadena is facing a growing budget deficit that will continue to grow if cuts are not undertaken or new revenues are not realized. While city officials will be sharing budget information, WISPPA members will be asked for potential solutions.
During the series of recent meetings, City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe and Finance Director Craig Koehler have presented the city’s current budget situation, what it could look like down the road, along with some possible ways to close the potential for deficits.
Among the ideas for revenue generators have been parking meters in the downtown business district and the opening of a cannabis store in town.
Input from the public will help the city’s elected representatives make decisions to ensure financial sustainability to maintain and improve the quality of life in South Pasadena.
The public forums, noted DeWolfe, are key to providing input on potential options to close the anticipated budget gap.
“Our goal is not just to balance the next budget or two, but to consider the long-term financial sustainability of the city,” she said. “We want to create a sustainable system for decades to come.”
DeWolfe says the projected budget increases are driven by two primary factors – strategic investment in city infrastructure and increased costs of pension obligations.
In recent years the City of South Pasadena has experienced increased spending on street repairs and water infrastructure, including the replacement of three crumbling reservoirs.
The city manager says South Pasadena has historically managed its budgets conservatively.
City officials have identified nearly $100 million in critical infrastructure spending needs, with funding identified for just half of the projects.
In addition, the payments that the city makes to CalPERS, the state’s public employee pension system, are set to increase in coming years.
DeWolfe says the city has time to develop revenue sources proactively to close the budget gap over the next several years by “asking residents to help us prioritize,” she said.
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The City of South Pasadena, Chamber of Commerce and WISPPA contributed to this story.