Councilmen David Spence and Anthony Portantino, Mayor Stephen Del
Guercio and City Manager Mark Alexander will be in Sacramento through
Wednesday attending the annual California Contract Cities Assn. state
legislative tour, during which officials from cities that contract
for municipal services get face time with state legislators.
"We will deliver the message that cutting from local governments
will be funneled from critical services, and this is not fair,"
City officials were surprised that the governor proposed taking
money from cities after recently ordering the state to restore
roughly $4 billion in vehicle-license fees that were lost when he
rescinded the tripling of the car tax. The rescission was his first
action as governor shortly after taking office in November.
"The feeling we get is pretty much, 'Here we go again,' "
Alexander said. "The state is trying to deal with its fiscal crisis
on the backs of local governments."
The city does not know how much of the 7% it gets in property
taxes paid by the city's residents will be stripped. For its 2003-04
fiscal year, the city estimated it will receive $1.6 million from the
"There is still a lot of work to be done to find out about the
direct consequences of the governor's budget," management analyst Ann
Money from property taxes goes into the city's general fund, which
pays for Los Angeles County Sheriff and Fire department contracts,
sewers and street improvements. The city budgeted $17.3 million for its 2003-04 general fund.
During several meetings with legislators next week, officials will
ask them to consider alternatives to siphoning money away from city
Legislators need to consider shaving away layers of a top-heavy
state bureaucracy instead, Spence said.
"The state could save millions of dollars by contracting out for
many of its services and forcing private enterprises to compete for
its business instead of maintaining expensive departments," he said.