Palmdale budget

COMING BACK? — Among the nearly $2.9 million in additional spending added to the city of Palmdale’s budget Tuesday is $500,000 towards efforts to return the airport to commercial service. The City Council approved the spending as part of the package of adjustments to the 2018-2019 budget, highlighting needs that officials felt must be addressed prior to the next budget year on July 1.

PALMDALE — The City Council on Tuesday ap­proved nearly $2.9 million in additional expenses for a variety of projects as a mid-year budget adjustment.

The additional expenses are for “things that have come up during this fiscal year that we think are im­portant enough that we can’t wait until next bud­get year to fund,” City Man­ager James Purtee said during a briefing Monday.

The 2018-2019 fiscal year ends June 30.

The largest item among the changes is $943,290 to pay for the continuing street­light inspections and repairs. This work, to in­spect all 18,000 lights the city recently acquired from Southern California Ed­ison and replaced with LEDs, was brought on by the discovering of faulty wiring in a portion of the lights.

Since late January, the city has warned people to stay away from the lights during rain storms, until all the lights are inspected and the faulty wiring fixed. There have been no re­ports of injuries or other com­plaints, officials said.

An additional team was brought in under contract to inspect all the lights, with the city’s own workers fix­ing those that are found to have problems. Officials ex­pect the process to be complete in a few weeks.

Another big-ticket item is the purchase of a new street lane striping machine for the Public Works De­part­ment for $525,000, to re­place the department’s ex­­ist­ing machine that is no long­er road wor­thy, Purtee said.

The funding for this pur­chase comes out of highway use tax revenues, he said.

Another large ad­just­ment is the $500,000 re­quest­ed to aid the effort to re­turn Palmdale’s air­port adjacent Air Force Plant 42 to service. This in­cludes a sup­ple­men­tal en­vi­ron­men­tal impact re­port, site de­sign, legal and consulting ser­vices and training. All of these funds may not be need­­ed this fiscal year, but it will be av­ail­able, just in case, Mayor Pro Tem Austin Bishop said.

The adjustments include near­ly $500,000 from the parks development fund to begin community en­gage­ment and design on three parks: Yellen, Rancho Vista and Arnie Quinones. This is the first portion of the $5 million the Council voted to dedicate to jumpstarting park developments, Purtee said.

Also included in the total is $25,000 for community spon­sorships, an item that re­mained in the budget but had not been allocated funds for several years, Purtee said.

Council members had re­quested the item be funded again in order for the city to be able to assist community or­gan­izations. In approving the adjustments, the Coun­cil also approved des­ig­na­ting the funds this time for the Palmdale Sheriff’s Boosters.

This matches the city of Lancaster’s contribution to their boosters, Councilman Richard Loa said.

“We are collaborating with both booster clubs … unifying our efforts to assist the Sheriff’s Department in items that are not funded through the budget of Los Angeles County,” he said.

“I look at it as leveraging some funds,” Mayor Steve Hofbauer said. “This merely tells our deputies that we’re going to step up.”

“It sends a message out to the community and the businesses asking them to step up as well,” he said.

Councilwoman Laura Bet­ten­court re­cused herself from the vote, as she is a Sher­iff’s department em­ployee.

The adjustments, with the community spon­sor­ship designation, passed on a 3-0 vote, with Councilman Juan Carrillo absent.

 Of the total $2,893,260 in additional expenses, $634,670 will be paid from the city’s General Fund, with the remainder com­ing from the gas tax, park de­vel­opment and street­light districts funds, according to the staff report.

With these adjustments, the General Fund reserve is expected to decrease from $20.1 million to $19.4 mil­lion, or to 21.7% of oper­ating expenses from 22.5%.

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