By Brian CHERNICK
Glendale City reported $73.2 million in revenues, a 30% year-over-year increase, for the second fiscal quarter that ended on Dec. 31.
City Manager Scott Ochoa estimated a revenue increase of $14.5 million for the 2016-17 fiscal year mostly due to an expected acceleration of repayment from the State of California to the city. There is also an expected $5 million in revenue coming in from increases in property, occupancy and utility taxes, along with licenses and permit fees and general charges for services.
The total annual expenditures for the city has reached nearly 48% of its fiscal year budget, which Ochoa said is around the normal level for the city.
As of June 1 of last year, the City of Glendale reported approximately $70 million, or 36% of the city’s budget, in unencumbered reserved funds. Ochoa stated the amount far exceeded the city policy of 30% minimum in reserves, but also surpassed the city’s more aggressive target of 35%.
In comparison, neighboring cities such as Pasadena and Burbank have a minimum and targeted fund balance of 20%.
Glendale City Council Members also quickly passed a continuation of a temporary halt on a water conservation drought rate and delay implementing Phase II. The ongoing delay on the rates will continue until July 1 when the council will meet again to determine if reimplementing the rate is necessary.
An action to adopt the “Pension Rate Stabilization Program” and awarding an agreement to Public Agency Retirement Services to administer the program failed to come to a vote after council members Ara Najarian and Zareh Sinanyan expressed dissatisfaction with the proposal and asked Ochoa and his team to return with more information for a later vote.
City Council initially adopted a water rate fee structure in July 2014 in anticipation of an extended drought throughout California. The fees, or Drought Charge, are adjusted in phases based on the targeted curtailment of water consumption by the city.
Council members voted in October to halt Drought Charges – which would have added an additional 75 cents for every hundred cubic feet of water sold – after successfully reducing water consumption below the necessary curtailment target of 20%. The October vote initiated the removal of water fees until Feb. 28.
Glendale Water and Power (GWP) will report back to City Council on the current water conservation efforts and decide on whether to reinstate the fees or continue to place a hold.
GWP General Manager Steve Zurn recommended to council to not reinstate the drought fees due to the successful efforts by citizens to curtail water consumption, revenue for GWP holding steady and fortunate weather in the Southern California region over the winter season.
Zurn and GWP will return to City Council before July 1 to provide an update on Glendale’s water conditions, along with information regarding possible changes to California’s conservation regulations that are expected to be discussed among California legislators in the coming months.