short by the 2008-2009 budget year.
Councilman Gus Gomez blamed potential future budget problems on
decisions made in the past, but was rebuffed by Councilman Sheldon Baker
who said today's problems have nothing to do with development.
Gomez was reacting to comments by Mayor Dave Weaver about a projected
$2.1-million budget surplus in the current fiscal year (which ends June
Weaver said the projected budget surplus this year shouldn't be used
by employee groups in future contract negotiations as a sign that the
city has plenty of money.
Glendale uses that surplus in times of need, having dipped into its
reserves for as much as $6 million one year during the recession of the
early 1990s, said City Manager Jim Starbird.
Gomez said past decisions to allow development in Glendale has forced
the city to increase services. He said developers profited from
irresponsible growth while the city got stuck with the bill.
"With new development comes new demands," Gomez said. "The balance has
been tipped. The more development, more demand for services than the city
Baker countered by saying that, without growth, the city would not
have the Redevelopment Agency, Glendale Galleria and other downtown
development that helped increase city revenues and create jobs.
"That development spared us slums in the downtown area," Baker said.
Baker agreed with Gomez that overbuilding of apartments in the 1980s
has created problems for the city, but the people who now live in them
are residents who need services.
"That bothers me. I will take umbrage with you," Baker said, claiming
it is unfair to criticize previous councils. "The past is the past, and
we aren't going to change that."
On Tuesday, Finance Director Bob Franz outlined budget woes that date
back to the approval of Proposition 13 in 1978 when property taxes were
rolled back and cities were locked into 2% annual budget increases. He
said Glendale also lost about $30 million during the 1990s to tax
revenues taken by the state.
Starbird said the council's decision to reduce a $3.4-million annual
subsidy from the capital improvement fund to the general fund has
contributed to the expected budget shortfall. The council has been
reducing the subsidy, started during the recession, by $500,000 a year.