GLENDALE — The City Council will hold a series of public discussions to solicit suggestions from residents on how to replace more than $3 million in revenue lost when the state adopted its budget last week.
In a report to the council on Tuesday, City Manager David Ramsay recommended increases in utility and business license taxes, layoffs and staff reduction by attrition as ways to replace the funds. A hiring freeze has been in effect since October, and 12 employees were laid off this year. The city has 1,566 employees.
Officials, however, did not discuss Ramsay's suggestions, opting to conduct public meetings first.
Ramsay said the workshops might be held on the fourth Thursday of each month, beginning Sept. 24.
Councilwoman Ginger Bremberg suggested that the meetings be advertised so that residents can help decide whether to raise taxes or to cut services.
Some council members blamed the state for forcing them to support its burgeoning budget.
To balance its budget last week, the state decreed that cities must give up 9% of the property tax receipts they had been allowed to keep since the approval of the Proposition 13 property tax limitation measure in 1978. The state also took back 15% of municipal redevelopment agencies' property tax revenues. The budget bill also cut the cities' share of tobacco taxes and forbade them to levy their own to make up the difference.
Ramsay estimated Glendale's loss at $1,590,000 in redevelopment property taxes, $1,350,000 in general fund property taxes and $175,000 in cigarette taxes.
"If the state takes millions of dollars from communities, we will have to make up the difference," Councilman Larry Zarian said. "It's a back-door way of coming in and taxing the public."
Zarian said most of the state's budget is wasted on welfare assistance for residents and on illegal immigrants whose children are supported by the state.
"People presently in the Legislature won't be around to see the problems they created," Mayor Carl W. Raggio said.
The state is hampering the city's means of stimulating economic development, Ramsay said. He said that the city has already cut $8 million from its general fund to balance the fiscal year budget of $288 million.
"We spent six months to balance the budget," he said. "Now once again we have to face the same difficult problem."