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Vacant positions may be frozen

May 12, 2010|By Christopher Cadelago

CITY HALL — Burbank officials on Tuesday proposed freezing vacant positions, cutting back public services and raising utility rates to close a projected $5.8-million budget gap for 2010-11.

The city has grappled with budget reductions in six of the last eight years, as growth to General Fund revenues continue to lag behind the rising cost of salaries and benefits. Sales tax revenue have seen dramatic decreases over the last two years, said Jennifer Kaplan, deputy financial services director.

The $144-million General Fund, of which 80% is dedicated to salaries and benefits, pays for city services and operations.

City Manager Mike Flad for the second consecutive year required every department to trim 5% from their proposed budgets. He also called on department executives to refrain from funding new positions unless they could offset the cost and to cap any costs.


The state is also expected to take $3.3 million in Redevelopment Agency funds in 2010-11, this after the city handed over more than $16 million of the money earlier this week.

“This is not a typical budget year,” Flad said.

Proposed cuts include freezing three firefighter positions and reducing minimum staffing levels; removing two police officers from district schools; reducing library hours on weeknights and Saturdays; and trimming the hours of operation at the city’s animal shelter.

In addition to hiking water rates by 13.5% and electric rates by 2.9% in July and January, respectively, other proposed fee increases would add to the price of parking citations, vehicle impounds, residential parking permits and animal adoptions.

Sewer and trash rates are also proposed to eventually increase by 5% and 8%, respectively.

The proposals come at a time when more residents use city services, Flad said.

Council members last year took library cuts off the table, and also elected to make one-year commitments to police officer park patrol positions, police cadet jobs and a probation officer.

Interim Community Development Director Greg Herrmann, tasked with reducing his budget by $270,377, proposed a new $100 fee to appeal decisions based on business licenses and permits, and raising from $100 to $200 challenges of the Permit Appeals Board.

The budget study sessions continue through May, with a vote on the final draft scheduled for June 22.

Get in touch CHRISTOPHER CADELAGO covers City Hall and the courts. He may be reached at (818) 637-3242 or by e-mail at christopher.cadelago@

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