Monday, May 17, 2021

Return to normal operations planned for in proposed city budget

La Mirada-  City Manager Jeff Boynton has presented a $38.52 million general fund spending plan to the city council for the new fiscal year that begins in July that budgets for a return to normal operations as the city enters a post-pandemic period of tempered optimism.

The budget includes a $1.37 million general fund surplus on revenue conservatively pegged at $39.89 million.  

Reserves are expected to be $34 million at the end of the next fiscal year on June 30, 2022.

Sales tax revenue is expected to rise above pre-pandemic levels to $11.75 million up 14.6% from the current fiscal year ending June 30 and property tax collections are expected to hit $7.4 million, up from $7 million this current fiscal year.

The city will also be receiving $9 million in two installments over the next two years from the American Rescue Plan for use before the end of 2024. Guidelines for use of these monies and the first installment should be released soon.

In addition to the general fund operating budget for day-to-day city operations, the spending plan contains an additional $18.45 million for a number of capital works projects that will be paid for from special revenue and reserve funds.

Among the projects that are slated to go forward is a new vehicle crossing bridge at Creek Park to replace one that has deteriorated to the point of no longer being capable of handling the weight of vehicles and a new maintenance building at Regional Park to replace the one displaced by the construction of Splash!

The proposed spending plan includes funding for the installation of a new traffic signal at Alondra Blvd. and Phoebe Av necessitated by heavy commercial vehicle traffic in the area, an overall upgrade to signals and its infrastructure along the Santa Gertrudes Ave corridor some of which dates back close to 50 years and completion of the Valley View median landscaping project.

Phase six of the residential street and infrastructure rehabilitation project as well as slurry sealing of neighborhood and major roadways will move towards completion.

A look into the future shows the city continues to invest in capital projects in the 2022-23 fiscal year commencing July 1, 2022, with a roadway rehabilitation and paving project to be done after the center median landscaping project is complete on Valley View Av between Imperial Hwy and Rosecrans Av, replacement of the roof at the city gymnasium, a new traffic signal at Telegraph Rd and Hutchins Dr and more.

A noteworthy increase in spending has been allocated towards the sheriff's contract to continue to fund six additional hours of patrol time daily that will increase the number of hours of one patrol unit on each shift from an eight-hour car to a ten-hour car. The additional two hours per shift places another deputy on the streets during shift changes allowing a faster arrival to emergency, priority, and response time sensitive calls without having to rely on the availability of patrol cars from outside the city and the travel time required to reach the scene.

A similar move has been put into place in Unincorporated Whittier reducing the likelihood La Mirada units will be pulled into emergency service there.

The adjusted patrol shifts have are been put into place and have already proven effective.

The budget plans for the anticipated September opening of the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts which will feature a season of five Broadway shows including Clue, Mama Mia!, Million Dollar Quartet, Sound of Music, and In the Heights.

The council will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget in June.

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