It was a financial planning night for the Garden Grove City Council as councilmembers voted to approve the city’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year following a public hearing of the proposed budget.
Also on 4-0 votes, the council approved budgets for the successor agency, housing authority and the sanitary district during the Tuesday night city council meeting.
Councilman Kris Beard was not present for the meeting.
During the budget public hearing, Kingsley Okereke, director of finance for the City of Garden Grove, voiced his opinion about the slow-moving economy by using an illustration of a turtle during the presentation. He said the economy is improving, however it is moving at a gradual pace.
“The good news is it [the economy] is recovering,” Okereke said. “The bad news is it’s going to be slow for some time. The economy has not been able to shake off clearly the impact of the recession of 2007-2008.”
Okereke said that the city’s revenue, even though is moving slowly, is significantly higher than it was during the recession due to the improving economy. Okereke cited during his presentation that sales tax and hotel tax have increase.
He also noted that the city was able to recover from stalled development projects due to the demolishing of the redevelopment agency without feeling a financial hit.
Okereke said the 2013-2014 fiscal budget will be fairly similar to the previous year budget. Okereke also said that the city’s current hiring freeze and one furlough day for city employees will still be implemented due to the uncertainty.
“We do have a proposed budget that is balanced,” Okereke said. “It is largely a status quo budget. Not much change from the year before.”
With the estimated cost and expected revenue, Okereke said that the proposed budget will end with a $50,000 surplus to be used for the next upcoming year.
Although last year’s budget will have a surplus, Okereke said that the budget still relied on reserve funds to cover some gaps. Okereke contributed the usage due to the slow economy. The proposed 2013-2014 budget will also draw from some reserve funds to fill some gaps.
“It’s good news. We made some recovery but we are not there yet,” Okereke said.
“We need more to get to the point where we can eliminate all of our structural deficit,” he added.
The council also adopted a resolution pertaining to the finalized “social host” ordinance that will serve to minimize underage drinking of minors.
The proposed ordinance will place hefty fines for adults who knowingly provide alcohol to minors under the age of 21 at private parties, events or gatherings. Violators can face a misdemeanor criminal charge and citation fines that can include administration and police fees.