Saturday morning saw a small, but quite impassioned group engaged in conversation and debate over the looming city budget gap and the numerous issues surrounding the hot button issue. City Manager, Stephanie DeWolfe, talked with citizens proposing her plans for “long range financial stability”.
Though only relatively new to South Pasadena, the transplant from West Hollywood, now City Manager, has already made an impact on the town’s public opinion and in some ways this has caused a degree of divisiveness.
DeWolfe’s solution to this however, is to give the people a voice and involve them in the discussion regarding the city’s strategic planning. The question is, how much of an impact can the constituency’s input make?
Prefacing the presentation, DeWolfe stated, “I do want to clarify that there are many cities that are facing these same budget gaps that are in worse shape than we are.”
At the top of the agenda, DeWolfe set out to give some transparency to the issue by sharing data aggregated by the city regarding the many facets – and assets – that are vital to a City Budget. In an attempt to break the barrier between citizen and government, she also addressed many of the uglier aspects of the issue and conceded that the gap will only widen over the five-year time span.
“We have a variety of options that we can use to close the budget gap,” explained DeWolfe.
Proposed solutions to generate revenue included developments such as building a small hotel, revitalizing and converting the Arroyo Golf Course, a Cannabis Dispensary, and installing parking meters on Fair Oaks.
South Pasadenans in attendance made no hesitation to vocalize their opinions, showing almost unanimous disapproval for some propositions while remaining open to others, opening up a forum for debate on several sensitive topics.
Other aspects of the meeting that went almost an hour overtime, addressed government pensions, property taxes, and sales tax.
DeWolfe and her colleagues encouraged those present to take a survey prioritizing the different key issues affecting the town’s revenue and gave participants a chance to give their input regarding the town’s financial resources in solving the budget gap.
This is a developing story, stay tuned for more in-depth coverage