Funding for Kuklin Pool restored, and three Police Officers added
Mayor Don Wesely today proposed adjustments to his recommended city budget for 2001-2002, which include the restoration of funding for Kuklin Pool and the addition of three new Police Officers. The changes will be presented to the City Council Monday, July 16, when a tentative vote is scheduled. The public hearing and final vote are scheduled the week of August 6.
When the Mayor released his proposed budget in June, the final revenue and expense projections were not available. Some budget additions were possible because personnel costs were slightly less than projected. The City Council's approval of Councilman Glenn Friendt's amendment to increase the city's share of the administrative fee for parking tickets will generate an additional $61,500.
Mayor Wesely said that in reviewing the Departments' budget proposals, he looked first for areas to reduce costs -- programs that were not cost effective and were under-utilized.
"In that context, it made sense to close Kuklin Pool, a facility with low use, in need of expensive repairs, in close proximity to Wood Pool and slated for future displacement by the Antelope Valley Project," Wesely said. "What we have seen since proposing the cut is an enormous amount of support for keeping the pool open. We also have received information that some cultural differences may also be factors in the low attendance. Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Johnson has met with members of the community who are willing to help create a program to get more neighborhood residents to use and be active in the pool program."
The Mayor emphasized that the $36,900 funding (cost of $48,800 minus revenue of $11,900) will keep the pool open for this year, but he said the success of the efforts to increase neighborhood usage of the pool is vital to its continued operation.
The addition of three new Police Officers was possible with $92,000 in additional city funding combined with $75,000 from the Federal COPS program. The federal program provides $25,000 for each new officer each year for three years. After three years the city is required to absorb all costs.
Another addition to the Mayor's proposed budget is about $17,000 to fund the city's portion of the Weed Control Program.
The city was recently informed that it will receive an additional $278,829 in state aid. Mayor Wesely emphasized that due to the declining sales tax receipts, the funding will be used to lower projected sales tax receipts. "It is only prudent for the city to be conservative in projecting our sales tax receipts if the economy continues to slow and sale tax receipts decline," Wesely said.
The Mayor stressed that this the 2001-2002 budget is an austere one and that the proposed increase in the occupation tax is essential to avoid severe service cuts, open several new major facilities, address the need for more traffic staff to accommodate the growth of the city and avoid any increase in the property tax rate.