City officials are grappling with a $1.3 million budget shortfall this coming fiscal year, which is only expected to widen over time as costs soar amid sluggish revenue growth.
City Council members are divided on how to conquer the deficit, with some are advocating outsourcing city jobs to save costs, while others firmly opposed to the idea.
What is clear is the problem: revenues are growing at 2.6% annually, but costs are growing at 2.8%.
Pension costs are soaring and the city’s unfunded pension liability — or the shortfall when comparing the obligation to employees and retirees to the value of the city’s assets held with the California Public Employees’ Retirement System — is $252 million.
Public works officials have identified an $85 million backlog in street repairs, and Burbank is still owed $27 million by the now-defunct redevelopment agency.
“We have no comprehensive plan that I’ve seen that addresses any of these serious issues,” said Interim City Manager Ken Pulskamp, adding that the city needs to either identify more sources of revenue, or cut services. “The road we are on now is not one we can afford to stay on.”