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How Burbank City Council candidates would balance the budget

April 01, 2013

Assume you are elected onto the City Council, and city staff says you need to cut $3 million, or roughly 2%, from the General Fund to balance the budget. What would you cut and why?

Dave Golonski

Age: 54

Profession: Burbank Councilman

This year’s budget deficit is $1 million, not $3 million. That’s because of the reduced spending over the last five years through a balanced approach that included employees paying more of the pension cost, finding ways to deliver services more efficiently, and paying down our unfunded pension liability.

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I proposed a hiring freeze until pension reform was enacted, saving millions.

To further reduce spending, we need to continue these approaches with more emphasis on ways to deliver services more efficiently, including outsourcing services that can be performed by the private sector in much more cost-effective ways.

By acting now, we can do this in a thoughtful way, relying on attrition. I oppose reducing services or increasing fees. One example is leasing police cars as opposed to purchasing them. This doesn’t impact our ability to deliver services, but will result in substantial savings. We also need to evaluate this approach for more of our fleet.

More important than balancing the current budget, we need to identify $8 million in additional savings to pay down more pension liability (resulting in additional recurring savings), increase the funding to repave our streets and invest more in our infrastructure, such as our park facilities.

Jess Talamantes

Age: 60

Profession: Burbank Councilman

When city staff recommends to cut $3 million to balance the budget, this cost-cutting process would be the collaborative effort of the City Council, city staff and the residents. On average, revenues are increasing only 2.6% and expenditures are increasing 2.8% annually.

Burbank has had budget reductions for the past 10 years; every effort must be made to minimize any future negative impact on our community.

We should consider cost recovery for use of city facilities; partner with neighboring cities to provide programs; look at consolidating city departments/programs and consider public/private partnerships.

These efficiencies will generate revenue and create savings.  It’s time for some outside-the-box thinking for revenue generation; budget cuts alone will not solve the problem.

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