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SANTA ANA : Council OKs Plan for Balanced Budget

Orange County Focus

June 18, 1992|JON NALICK

After a brief discussion, the City Council on Monday approved its fiscal 1992 budget, which will reduce city spending by trimming its work force and eliminating staff travel, while raising fees on a wide range of municipal services and permits.

Although the council unanimously approved the final $266.3-million budget, city officials may have to make further cuts of $13.7 million or more if state funding is reduced.

"We're proud to have a balanced budget. We're very proud with how it is, but were waiting to see whether the state will affect that," Assistant City Manager Debra Kurita said Tuesday.

"We're pessimistic," she added. "It's really hard to speculate, but there's going to be some dramatic impacts. It's something that every city in California will have to face."

In his budget message to the council, City Manager David N. Ream blamed the cuts on the slumping economy and the state's attempts to balance its own anemic budget by shifting costs to cities. He said that the combination of lost revenue and increased fees from the state and county have cost the city $3 million.

For example, the city lost all of its cigarette tax revenue from the state and was required to start paying a $154 fee for each Santa Ana prisoner booked into County Jail--a fee expected to rise by 25% for fiscal 1992.

To balance the budget, city officials added new fees, such as a $3-an-hour fee to use city tennis courts during the day. Fees for most city services will rise by at least 5%, with the average residential bimonthly bill for water, sewer and refuse collection increasing from $52.20 to $56.78.

The budget also calls for eliminating 34 staff positions, although Ream has said that only eight or nine workers will actually be laid off. The other positions will be cut through attrition or retirement.

The budget includes a new five-year operations plan to improve streets, drainage, sidewalks and gutters, the creation of a citywide redevelopment area to fund educational and community facilities, and continued work on the Bristol Street redevelopment plan.

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