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$131-Million Budget OKd; Little Impact on Public Expected


CULVER CITY — Anticipating additional cuts from the state, the Culver City Council this week approved a $131-million municipal budget for 1993-94, hailing it as a lean, efficient response to a stagnant economy.

The $42-million general fund component is up $398,000, or 0.8%, from last year. Because of an inflation rate of about 3%, the net effect is a decrease in real dollars, city officials said. The new fiscal year starts today.

But Budget Director Bob Norquist said the cuts--implemented under a new system that rewards individual departments for trimming costs creatively--should be relatively painless. For example, a decision to contract out much of the city's tree-trimmming operations is expected to save $90,000, with no discernible impact on local residents.

"It's not much the public will sense," Norquist said of the reductions. "It's just little chunks and pieces all over the place."

Norquist added that the new austerity may help make the city more streamlined and efficient.

"Government has gone along for many years without needing to face this kind of problem," he said.

But the city may not be out of the woods yet. Depending on the outcome of the state budget process--and whether voters adopt a proposed half-cent sales tax increase that will appear on the November ballot--Culver City stands to lose between $242,000 and $483,000 in state revenue.

Meanwhile, an infusion of bond money has pushed the city's total budget to a one-time peak. About $40 million of the $131-million budget, Norquist said, reflects money transferred to the city for the construction of a new City Hall and for downtown redevelopment.

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