The Irvine City Council is considering new and increased fees, with concerts at Irvine Meadows and boxing at the Irvine Marriott among the targets for the levies. In Huntington Beach, some parking rates are going up. It's the same story all over Orange County.
With few exceptions, cities wrestling with 1987-88 budgets that refuse to balance are being forced by reductions in anticipated sales and property tax revenues to hike fees and tap reserves--a sign that the county's economy is slowing down.
Most of the county's 26 cities still are expecting to take in more taxes in the 1987-88 fiscal year than in the current year--4% to 8% more, in most cases. But city officials say that that rate of growth is only about half of the previous year's and is not enough to cover rapidly escalating expenses.
There are a few bright spots. Santa Ana, for example, has managed to find enough money to launch a new program to spruce up neighborhoods.
But, faced with a state law requiring balanced budgets, most city councils are struggling to maintain services at current levels.
Garden Grove Assistant City Manager Mike Fenderson summed up the situation described by many of his counterparts in other cities when he said: "We see the economy weakening . . . I see where serious problems will have to be addressed in the future."
Here is a city-by-city look, in alphabetical order, at how the budget-balancing is going at city halls across the county.
La Palma Management Costs Face Reductions of 1% to 2%
With the proposed $8.4-million budget for fiscal 1987-88 down from 1986-87's $8.8 million, every department at City Hall has been warned to start tightening its belt. There won't be much margin for error, City Manager Paul Bussey said.
The City Council had its first look at the proposed budget last Wednesday and set a public hearing for July 7. But Bussey said there isn't much room for changes.
"We just don't have the money," he said.
Revenue increases from sales and property taxes in 1987-88 over 1986-87 are expected to be slight. The sales tax should bring in $580,000, only $8,000 more than this year. The city is counting on $760,000 in property tax revenue, compared to $730,000 for 1986-87.
Management costs will be cut in the 1987-88 budget by 1% to 2% across the board, Bussey said. No personnel and no programs will get the ax, but that may change in future years unless the city can come up with new revenue sources, such as bonds, he said.
Contributing to this story were Times staff writers Marcida Dodson, La Mont Jones Jr., Lanie Jones, Ray Perez, Mark I. Pinsky, David Reyes, Bob Schwartz, Nancy Wride and Jonathan Weisman.