PALMDALE — As preparations begin for the city’s 2019-2020 bud­get, the City Council laid out its funding priorities for con­sid­eration by staff during that process.

Council members were sur­veyed recently and asked to rank a selection of 13 priorities laid out by staff. From those re­sults, a combination of the rank­ings col­lected, the top five were pre­sented during Tuesday’s Council meeting.

Top of this list is public safety and security, followed by economic de­vel­opment, completion of ex­ist­ing parks, parks safety and main­ten­ance of existing facilities, Assistant Finance Manager Keith Kang said.

“It’s giving us clear direction,” City Manager James Purtee said. “What this does … is gives my­self and the departments that are put­ting their budgets together a frame­work to work within with re­gards to where we need to allocate our resources, whether it’s staffing, ve­hicles or other resources, what do we need to do to meet these pri­orities and continue delivering on all the other priorities in the city.”

The list is similar to last year’s pri­orities, with public safety and sec­urity perennially a top priority not only for Palmdale, but for most cities, he said.

Completing existing parks also was addressed during the same meet­ing Tuesday night, as the Coun­cil agreed to an internal $5 mil­lion loan from General Fund re­serves in order to begin design and preparation work for four spec­ific parks and to bring back a parks committee to advise on parks projects citywide.

In prior years, the priorities inc­luded landscape maintenance and improving parks landscaping, items which were addressed by updating contracts for those ser­vices, Purtee said.

“If we’re going to step up our game on any of these pri­orities, there is a cost and a budgetary requirement associated with it,” he said. Knowing where the pri­orities lie helps the staff in making the necessary financial trade offs between these and other city needs.

The budget priorities out­line “gives a good chance for the council to get on the same page” at the start of the budget de­vel­op­ment process, Mayor Pro Tem Austin Bishop said Mon­day during a pre-meet­ing brief­ing.

The budget development proc­ess will proceed tow­ard the goal of adoption for the fis­cal year 2019-2020 budget by the end of June, when the cur­rent fis­cal year ends. This month and into March, city de­part­ment heads will re­view their budget pro­po­sals with Pur­tee, and the Coun­cil will be updated with tentative figures in April.

A budget workshop is sched­uled for May 7, with the ex­pec­tation the Council will be asked to adopt the final ver­sion at its regular meet­ing on June 4.

Mayor Steve Hofbauer re­quest­ed additional meet­ings with individual Coun­cil members and Purtee to go over the budget pro­po­sals in de­tail “so we can make sure we flesh that out before we get into bud­get hearings,” he said. This will allow Council mem­bers to see how their priorities are being ad­dressed, some of which may not be obvious at first.

“We need to open up each of those items and really dis­cuss what that means and how we’re going to ach­ieve that,” Bish­op said.

Councilwoman Laura Bet­ten­­court said the top two pri­or­ities on the list, pub­lic safety and economic de­vel­opment, really go hand-in-hand, as many bus­i­nesses looking a lo­ca­ting in Palmdale check the local crime statistics as part of making their de­cis­ion.

“Public safety is a huge pri­ority to help bring that economic development to our city,” she said.

To share your opinion on this article or any other article, write a letter to the editor and email it to or mail it to Letters to Editor, PO Box 4050, Palmdale CA 93590-4050.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.