City Council to consider $2.1 million budget cut

City Council to consider $2.1 million budget cut
The newest Pasadena City Manager, Steve Mermell

Pasadena City Manager Steve Mermell indicates that government spending will outstrip income and create a budget deficit that will continue to grow unless addressed soon.

The City Council Monday will consider cutting $2.1 million from its already approved 2017 operating budget, documents show.

A report to the council from City Manager Steve Mermell indicates that government spending will outstrip income and create a budget deficit that will continue to grow unless addressed soon.

Mermell’s report notes the city has a $388.5 million unfunded pension liability as determined by CalPERS — the state’s pension and retirement system for government employees.

“The upward pressure on personnel costs, most particularly as related to pensions discussed above, may require the City to examine the sustainability of its current level of municipal services,” Mermell wrote. “The city’s infrastructure: fire stations, community centers, streets and sidewalks are aging and in need of repair, upgrade and in some cases replacement. In order to address these needs there must be sufficient financial capacity to either fund projects directly or support related debt service.”

Mermell’s report suggests several budget cuts including the elimination of seven jobs at City Hall.

Also being considered are cost reductions in the Police Department’s Air Operations unit and a possible change in how emergency medical services are delivered.

Finally, “some consideration will need to be given to the city’s library system,” the report notes. “Pasadena boasts a world-class library system with 10 branches and a total budget that well exceeds that of other communities with larger populations.”

The report notes that the City Council can propose several tax increases including a quarter-cent sales tax, a parking lot tax or a business license tax. Voter approval would be required before any such measure could be enacted.

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