Garden Grove

Sunny budget now, storm clouds ahead?

THE COMBINED 2019-2020/2020-2021 city budget was approved by the Garden Grove City Council on Tuesday night (Shutterstock).

A sunny budget for the next two years for Garden Grove is being trailed by some potentially stormy clouds.

The city council on Tuesday night approved a biennial budget for 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 with surpluses, but there could be some significant bad weather ahead.

On a 7-0 vote, the budget was approved, a revenue and spending plan that reflects expanded funding for public safety and other areas. In the first year, the budget calls for $280.6 million in revenue the first year, with $259.5 million in expenses.

In the second year of the budget, revenues are projected to reach $262.8 million with operating expenses at $249.4 million. Both budgets exclude capital improvement projects such as new construction.

The declines in revenue raised and expenditures reflect both the winding down of the Successor Agency – the fading remnant of the old redevelopment agency – and uncertainty about future state and federal grants.

The new biennial budget includes a spike in funding for police and fire services. The Garden Grove Police Department will be expanding by 17 new full-time positions (including 11 full-time sworn officers) and the Orange County Fire Authority will replace the city fire department for fire and paramedic services.

However, as city officials pointed out, the good times might not last very long if measures aren’t taken to tighten some municipal spending. Two trends – a sharp increase in unfunded pension liabilities, and the upward pressure in personnel costs pushed in part by hikes in the state minimum wage – could turn the annual surplus into red ink as early as 2023.

According to City Manager Scott Stiles, the city’s top management and council will be developing plans to address both those issues.




1 reply »

  1. Wait until the bill comes due on the PERS buyout for the fire department personnel now headed to the ocfa. Those storm clouds is the 1,000 year flood headed towards Garden Grove.

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