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CITY BUDGETS : Budget-Balancing Deadline Sends Some Cities Scurrying

July 05, 1988|DONN WALKER and ERIC HEALY | Times Staff Writers

In Santa Ana, a city financial squeeze means that 90 positions are being eliminated from the city payroll. But the budget for tiny Villa Park, Orange County's smallest city, is rising 60% this year--thanks entirely to capital spending on road improvements. And in Irvine, last year's deficit crisis is nearly forgotten and 38 employees will be added to the city payroll.

In most cities where spending is up, it is for increases in public safety personnel or road improvements. But whether the numbers are rising or falling, the story at city halls throughout Orange County is essentially the same: it is budget-balancing time.

The new fiscal year for California's cities began Friday, and legally they were required to have had their budgets balanced and approved by the night before. However, several Orange County cities are still working with proposed budgets, including Fullerton, which is scheduled to approve its spending plan tonight.

Following is a city-by-city look at the budget picture in each of the county's 27 cities. Westminster

'Normal Growth' Puts Budget Up Almost 11%

Westminster's city budget is up almost 11% this year mostly due to "normal growth," according to Robert Huntley, special assistant to City Manager Murray Warden.

Total expenditures this year will be about $33.7 million, up from about $30 million last year, Huntley said.

Five new positions are being created: one each in the city manager's office and in the engineering, planning, public works and building departments.

Beyond that, Huntley said, a "big chunk of the budget" is earmarked for street and road improvements. The $5 million allocated there, he said, will be funded by revenues from the state gasoline tax.

If a pending court ruling voids the city's utility users' tax, Westminster will face a $2-million shortfall and may have to dip into reserves, Huntley said.

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