Citywide Budget Reviewed by Council



The City of Glendale held its third budget study session on Tuesday afternoon and reviewed the entire citywide budget. A final budget session is scheduled for Tuesday, May 21 at 2 p.m. and the budget will be adopted by the full Council at its regular meeting on Tuesday, June 4 at 6 p.m.

The city has 14 departments, city manager Roubik Golanian explained. The largest city departments provide services to the city; these “external services” departments are: Community Development; Community Services & Parks; fire; Glendale Water & Power (GWP); Library, Arts, & Culture; police; and Public Works.

The “internal services” departments support the work of the service-providing departments; they are the: city attorney; city clerk; city treasurer; finance; human relations; information technology (IT); and management services.

For the FY 2022-23 budget, the Council identified four budget priorities: infrastructure, environmental stewardship, housing and mobility/connectivity/safety. For the FY 2023-24 budget, the priorities highlighted were financial stability; economic development; operational efficiency; mobility/traffic and pedestrian safety.

Jason Bradford, who is the city’s director of finance and director of IT, shared an overview of the entire budget proposed for all of the departments and services, regardless of the source of funding, at $1.25 billion, up $79.3 million, or 6.8%, from the current fiscal year. Of that, $325.7 million is in the city’s general fund, $152.2 million in special (specific, restricted) funds, $3 million toward debt service, $33.3 million in non-enterprise capital projects; $591.9 million in enterprise funds and $146 million for internal services.

Approximately 65% of the overall city budget goes to public safety, he detailed, with $209.7 million divided between the police ($124 million) and fire ($85.7 million) departments.

Police chief Manny Cid summarized this year’s budget highlights saying the department will complete its updated state-of-the-art Real Time Intelligence Center and will purchase and equip a new Mobile Command Post, replacing an outdated 22-year-old vehicle. The department plans to continue to focus on traffic enforcement. A second full-time mental health clinician, contracted through the county, will enable the police department to field two full teams up to six days a week to address mental health matters and provide crisis intervention.

“Traffic safety continues to be a high priority and [is] the number one concern of our residents,” Chief Cid noted. He reported on the work of a Residential Burglary Task Force started late in 2023. During the first quarter of 2024, the city has experienced a 20% decline in burglaries.

Cid was candid in responding to questions from Council members about the “right” size for the police department. Currently staffed with 248 sworn positions, the chief opined that 300 might be the correct number, increasing police coverage to 1.5 police officers per 1000 residents, still lower than neighboring cities Burbank and Pasadena, but closer to what he feels is properly policed.

Mayor Elen Asatryan commended the police department’s updated social media and community outreach efforts.

Interim Fire Chief Greg Fish began his portion of the budgetary presentation touting the work of the city’s Verdugo Fire Communications Center, which the city opened in 1979 with Burbank and Pasadena, to coordinate the best response to calls for service. The city of West Covina has joined the operation, now serving nearly a million residents across 134 square miles, from its facilities in Glendale. The addition of West Covina’s calls adds an estimated $800,000 in revenue for the overall operation of the call center.

Chief Fish reported on plans for filling up to 10 vacancies utilizing a lateral academy, which could train new fire fighters in six rather than 16 weeks. He detailed long-term plans for renovating the city’s fire stations (first replacing Station 29 in Montrose, Station 28 in La Crescenta and Station 26 on North Brand Avenue) over the next 10 years. Two additional ambulances are included in the proposed budget to enhance daily coverage.

Finally, Chief Fish requested funds for annual cancer screenings for workers in the fire service stating, “Even the gear we wear contains carcinogens.”

Councilmember Ardy Kassakhian responded that the Council had heard the department’s master plan on April 2 (see the Crescenta Valley Weekly’s coverage: and that it was clear and concise.

“It should be our responsibility to … find resources to upgrade these fire stations – we’ve had conversations about how to fund this, bonds or a new parcel tax, this is the type of thing the community would support – when they know exactly where the funds are going to go and what purpose they’re going to serve, for the greater good and safety of the community,” Kassakhian said.

He added, “The cancer screenings are essential. We ask the men and women of the fire service to do a lot and, given the risks of the job, I support this expenditure.”

Councilmember Dan Brotman asked Chief Fish about the Community Emergency Preparedness Training (CERT) program to help neighborhoods best prepare for and respond to emergencies. The chief reported that the department is in the process of securing grant funds aimed at “having as many CERT classes as there are people wanting the training.” He indicated there could be four trainings this year. (Find more information on CERT at

Onnig Bulanikian, director of Community Services & Parks who currently also oversees the Dept. of Library, Arts & Culture, overviewed the proposed budgets of both departments, focusing on projects planned for the coming year. Plans are underway for the renovation of the Doctors House in Brand Park; the renovation of fields #4 and #5 in the Sports Complex; the completion of the update to the Central Library, adding restrooms upstairs, finishing the children’s space, teen center and game room; new public art throughout the city including 20 new columns with tile artwork at Fremont Park; murals on the basketball courts in Palmer Park; art on three circular benches in the area of the Montrose Shopping Park district; an art show planned for late 2024; and the roll-out of an electric bookmobile operational by the end of July, working three to four days a week at multiple locations – parks, senior centers, schools, preschools – to provide library services and Wi-Fi.

Lights at Glorietta Field will be replaced with more focused lighting to avert the light pollution currently experienced by neighbors.

“We need more parks in south Glendale,” Councilmember Vartan Gharpetian stated, questioning the $4 million set aside for park acquisition. He emphasized the importance of working with the Glendale Unified School District (GUSD) to explore opportunities for joint use.

“Opening up those resources to the community when school is out would be life-changing for some neighborhoods,” Councilmember Kassakhian added.

Reporting on the budget focus of the Community Development Department, director Bradley Calvert ran through outstanding projects including improvements to the Alex Theatre; information being distributed explaining the city’s rental rights program; this year’s small business/economic development summit (double the size of last year’s); plans for public engagement and site rehabilitation as plans develop for the museum at Rockhaven; opportunities to offer ground leases of city facilities to generate added revenue; the roll-out of the city’s new business registration program; and continued plans for work proposed in the Verdugo Wash.

“You know how I feel about this project,” said Councilmember Gharpetian of the work proposed in the Verdugo Wash. “People who live there do not want this project. I want to know how much has already been spent, in staff time. We can use that money to buy parks.”

“I don’t agree with my colleague and I know there are a lot of people who are supportive,” Councilmember Brotman responded. “They’re just not as loud and noisy as those [who] oppose it – and it’s not just about the people living along it; it’s about the whole city.”

“Public engagement will be the leading part and there will be several check-in points with Council as we decide whether or not to continue, or even what parts to continue with,” Calvert answered.

Mayor Asatryan mentioned the need for a convention center to hold events for 800-1,000 people “if we really want to be a regional connector city.”

All of the city’s budget documents can be reviewed here: