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Alhambra's budget should be balanced

A mid-year budget review at Monday's City Council meeting projected that revenues and expenditures will end in a near tie.Revenues are expected to hit $49.7 million. This figure, added with a beginning fund balance of $582,000, will give the city more than $50 million in available resources. The estimated expenditures and transfers is set at $50 million. Combined with money reserved for community projects, this will leave approximately $1,000 in the fund balance at the end of the fiscal year.  Though the city is expected to meet its benchmark, it will be prepared if the costs exceed the budget, according to City Manager Julio Fuentes."If we miss the boat, we could be off by $400,000. If we do, we have the money reserved to cover that," Fuentes said.The projection took into account several sectors that will see a rise in costs:

– A 4 percent increase in salary for the Police Officers Association, which is expected to take place over a span of three years.

– A 5 percent increase in electricity costs. This is caused by a change in Southern California Edison's rates. The new rates will be based on the time of day that electricity is used.- Building contract costs.- Rising salary for younger police officers who are moving up in position and pay.- Increasing costs for the Public Employees' Retirement System. Fuentes predicts that costs will rise "dramatically" for the next three years.The presentation also considered the elimination of the Alhambra Redevelopment Agency, which is charged with establishing local businesses and promoting economic growth. If the state agrees with Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to re-budget and eliminate local redevelopment agencies, the city will decide on whether to take in the staff, or to let the workers go and redirect their pay to the general fund.

"The full-time cost of the redevelopment staff, added with the housing and planning staff, will be over $700,000," Fuentes said.

The city also plans to defer general fund capital projects.Speaking on the costs on building contracts, Fuentes said that the returns will be seen in three years, as the projects start bringing in jobs and businesses. He added that four large retail tenants are currently in talks with the city."They could generate several million dollars a year. It probably won't come until 2012-2013, but those revenues haven't been calculated. 2012 looks to be more promising for Alhambra," Fuentes said.

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1 thought on “Alhambra's budget should be balanced”

  1. So far the budget of Alhambra seems on track but growing and needs to be diligently monitored.

    One concern that I have are the public expenses being incurred such as the police services (Police Officer’s Association) and PERS (retirement system). Costs for the Police Officer’s Association should increase if current memberships are adequate enough to justify the necessity of the organization’s services. The Association should not, however, act as a proxy for members to provide major compensation and benefits due to shortfalls in our low economy. Otherwise, such costs will only increase (in good and bad times) and will not maintain reciprocity with our city’s current revenues. Also, keep in mind that public pensions are one of the biggest culprits for bankrupting this state. However, I will give credit for the larger expenses due to the fact that our city is growing.

    In addition, city tax revenues (income) should increase in the near future due to development projects along Main St. The article states that four large retail tenants are in current negotiations with the city. The Alhambra Place at Main St. and Garfield Ave. will be one such location that will be under development for these retailers.

    I do have mixed feelings about the Alhambra Redevelopment Agency. It’s done good things and bad (depending on who you talk to). I personally don’t think funding for this agency should be totally cut-off. If it does, I still hope developers will take the opportunity to make full investments in our community.