By Mary O’KEEFE
The California Dept. of Parks and Recreation and the Office of Grants and Local Services (OGALS) had awarded grants specifically for the restoration of Stengel Field in Glendale in the amount of $2 million, and for the Mountain Oaks Open Space Acquisition in the amount of $2.5 million. On Dec. 19 the items were in the consent calendar and approved by the Glendale City Council.
The grants for Stengel will “provide critical improvements to a field that has served Glendale families and youth for decades,” according to the City of Glendale.
Glendale City owns and operates Stengel Field, which has been under remodeling/reconstruction for years. Another grant for $2 million is also earmarked for Stengel that will be put toward the project. The total for the restoration project is $7.3 million.
The City Council then turned to the Annual Financial Report.
The City of Glendale received an “unmodified opinion” which, according to Jason Bradford, director of Finance, is the highest rating it can receive from its external auditors.
The auditors found that the City’s checks and balances that are in place are sufficient.
This external audit is required for the City.
Glendale does have a reserve of 25%, which is similar to the cities of Burbank and Inglewood. Pasadena has a reserve of 20% and Anaheim has a reserve of 7%.
For the year 2022-23, the City exceeded its projected funding; however, as the years go by the City will find more expenditures, and expenditure increases requiring the Council to take a hard look at what it can do to increase revenue in the future.
There were additional requests that include: Management Services requested $75,000 for replacement and purchase of equipment for the city’s TV channel GTV6; Glendale Water and Power (GWP) requested one clean energy officer position (the costs will be absorbed within GWP’s fiscal budget for 2023-24); and the Glendale Police Dept. (GPD) requested funding for six new police services officer positions.
GPD Chief Manny Cid said these would be administrative duties including parking enforcement, writing reports and responding to traffic collisions without injuries. If accepted these programs could be a source of recruitment for the police department.
Bradford proposed some actions that could increase revenue including a business tax, occupancy tax increase, parcel tax, property transfer tax and a parking tax.
These taxes would have to be voted on: a general tax that would require revenues generated to be used for any legitimate government purpose and a special tax would require funds that are restricted and can only be used for certain purposes.
Another proposed tax includes a so-called “mansion tax,” which would be a tax imposed on a property sold above a certain threshold. That threshold amount would be studied and determined by City Council.
Other revenue generators suggested included looking at citywide fees including reducing the current 90-minute parking time limit and the addition of advertising billboards that would more than likely be installed along the 134 Freeway corridor.
The City can also look at leasing property out for development of housing and affordable housing.
City staff will now begin to research the proposed taxes and other ideas to bring in revenue and bring back the issues one at a time. It was noted that a parcel tax would have to be put before voters and must receive a two-thirds vote; a business tax would require a majority (50% plus one) vote.
The Council requested staff to first bring back the easier issues to research, including advertising (like the use of digital billboards), and ground leasing options. Some of the issues would have to include a deeper investigation.
Nothing currently required a vote by Council.