2014-2015 Budget Balanced, Council Requests More Staffers

The City of Malibu will likely mark another year in the black, as a projected balanced 2014-2015 budget was presented at City Council budget workshop held last Wednesday, with increased revenue and expenditures from last year’s numbers. 

With the figures on a continual uptick, the City Council also took Wednesday’s meeting as an opportunity to float out new ideas for staffing and grant funding.

According to the budget presented to the council by Assistant City Manager Reva Feldman, the city’s general fund is projected to have a total revenue of $22.7 million, with total general fund expenditures of $22.3 million. 

The general fund’s undesignated reserve is projected to be $15.7 million, an increase from last year’s $15.3 million. 

The final number for 2014, $15.3 million of General Fund Undesignated Reserve, ended up $2 million higher than what it was projected to be according to last year’s budget, Feldman explained at the workshop.

The budget can be broken down various ways: the sources of the general fund (fig. 1), property tax breakdown (fig. 2) and general fund expenditures (fig. 3). To view the full budget breakdown, visit malibucity.org.

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Council wants more staff and grant funds

Council members also requested a new code enforcer, a fee ombudsman to help applicants navigate the city permit process and more grant money to dole out to local organizations.

Those addendums will be up for consideration by the Administration and Finance Subcommittee, which will meet May 12 and 13.

Mayor Pro Tem John Sibert suggested reducing the complexity of the fee schedule by hiring an evaluator to simplify and condense fees, which had previously been discussed by the A&F Subcommittee.

“What’s going to happen, I think, going forward, is we’re going to take a look at how other cities have dealt with this and what their experience has been,” said Sibert. “We don’t need to reinvent the wheel.”

City Manager Jim Thorsen suggested including the cost of a fee evaluator into the budget.

The council also discussed increasing the city’s annual grant budget from $75,000 to $100,000 or $125,000, so the city can grant more money to various causes.

“Five or six years ago, [the grant budget] was higher, and then the recession came and we reduced it,” said Councilwoman Laura Rosenthal. 

“I felt that if we increase this by a reasonable amount, then that would have a big impact on a lot of different organizations in our city,” she added.

Finally, the council discussed adding an additional code enforcement officer to the city staff. 

Councilmember Lou La Monte mentioned that without code enforcement officers on duty, LA County Sheriffs are often called when residents complain about things like loud parties.

“Short of calling the sheriff, which always causes a tremendous amount of grief for everybody, and they should be out doing more important stuff than that, I think it would be smart of us to think about a way to get a code enforcement officer on duty over the weekends,” said La Monte. 

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