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Catching up with Los Alamitos city news

At its January 22, 2019 regular meeting, the City Council of Los Alamitos received and update from its Standing Committee Regarding Fiscal Sustainability. Councilmembers Shelley Hasselbrink and Mark Chirco comprise the Standing Committee.

The City Council faces stern challenges to its responsibility to maintain the fiscal health of the City this coming year. The City’s General Fund suffers under a structural deficit that will empty the Fund by Fiscal Year 2024-25.

This fiscal challenge to the City is independent of the expenses faced by the City related to the lawsuit brought by the ACLU in regards to the City ordinance opting out of SB 54.

The main culprit emptying the City coffers is the combination of flat revenue not covering increases to mandated obligations to the State’s public employee pension programs.

The Standing Commmittee is and will be collecting information from each of the City’s Departments on cost of programs and recommendations for cost saving. Increasing revenue is also under review. The City expects to put together a presentation for the public to become available around mid year.

At its first meeting of the year, the Standing Committee heard from the Police Department. The next Department to be considered will be Development Services.

When invited to speak, Councilman Dean Grose held out the example of West-Comm, which handles dispatching for the Cities of Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, and Cypress as well as Orange County Park Rangers. He expressed interest in considering consolidation of other public safety services to realize cost savings in the face of the fiscal challenge presented by flat revenue and steeply increasing mandated public pension costs.

In his comments, Mayor Pro Tem Richard Murphy described the City’s fiscal outlook as “bleak.” He said, “When we start voting on what we’re going to cut… we’re going to have a packed room.” (Public attendance at the January 22 meeting numbered fewer than ten.)

If you want to view the discussion about the Standing Committee Regarding Fiscal Sustainability, it begins around the 45 minute mark of the video below.

The Standing Committee is scheduled to provide another update at the March 18, 2019 regular City Council meeting.