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Utility Fees to Rise in $295-Million City Budget : Finance: Council adopts a spending package. It warns of more rate increases if state funds earmarked for cities are tapped.

June 27, 1991|MARTHA L. WILLMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Warning that the crisis in state finances may force additional increases in local fees, the Glendale City Council on Tuesday adopted a $295.8-million budget for 1991-92 that includes moderate increases in utility rates.

But council members said rates may have to be raised further in the fall if the Legislature decides to use money earmarked for cities to help reduce the state's $14.3-billion budget deficit. Glendale could be forced to raise its fees in turn to make up for lost revenues, officials said.

Mayor Ginger Bremberg said the city's expected revenues from Sacramento "are changing hourly" and the newly adopted budget "is valid today, but may not be tomorrow."

The council introduced ordinances to increase refuse collection rates by 6%, water rates by 9.5% and electric rates by about 3%, said Finance Director Brian Butler. The new rates will go into effect Aug. 1. Sewer rates will not change.

Councilman Carl Raggio called the financial crisis affecting cities, counties, school districts and the state "one of the most turbulent years for budgets."

Although Glendale's budget is balanced, it provides only $209,000 in a contingency fund--unusually low for the financially conservative city. Moreover, the city could lose up to $1 million if proposals being considered by the Legislature are adopted, officials said.

The adopted budget already provides for savings by deferring some street and park maintenance.

To raise funds, the city will seek county permission to increase by 10% the fee that other cities pay to dump trash at the Scholl Canyon Landfill, which is owned by Glendale and operated by a county sanitation district. The increase in the fee, now about $21 a ton, is expected to raise $1 million in the next year to help finance the development of alternative disposal methods.

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