LA MESA APPROVES CITY BUDGET, ENDS CITY FUNDING FOR OKTOBERFEST SECURITY

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Councilman Dave Allan announces he will not seek reelection

 

August 10, 2011 (La Mesa) – La Mesa’s City Council by a 5-0 vote approved a revised biennial budget. Revisions included a state takeaway of $215,000 in vehicle licensing fees formerly allocated to La Mesa.

A lawsuit could ultimately restore the lost funds, but Council’s budget reflects the worst-case scenario.
 

“A lot of those revenues are taken away by the state for no rhyme or reason,” said Mayor Art Madrid. “We’re losing a heck of a lot of money.” He added that at a recent national conference, mayors were warned to “prepare to lose all transportation money” from the federal government and more due to the Congressional battle to reduce federal debt.
 

Another budget wildcard is redevelopment funds, which the state budget slashed but a pending lawsuit may restore. If the City loses redevelopment funding, such cuts would be made from a redevelopment fund, not the City’s general fund.
 

Still there were some bright spots. Reserves, though slightly lower than forecast in June, would remain above the Council’s targeted goal of 25% in the revised budget. Moreover, the City Treasurer presented a quarterly report which indicated some paper losses have been recouped in the City’s investment portfolio. The City has “excellent liquidity and a satisfactory rate of return,” he added, then predicted a “fantastic return on investment next month” due to interest rate changes in the market.
 

Mindful of tighter budgetary times, Council also decided not to provide safety and security funding for the annual Oktoberfest, a cost that ran approximately $70,000 last year. This year, those costs will be paid by the La Mesa Village Merchants Association and the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce.

Councilman Dave Allan voiced concerns over San Diego Fire Department’s announced cutbacks in its helicopter service and how that might impact La Mesa’s bottom line if local fire engines are dispatched to fight more fires outside La Mesa’s city limits. He also suggested that La Mesa might be “subsidizing the state” by fighting fires in the backcountry at the same time the state has set up plans to charge backcountry residents a $150 fire parcel fee.

Allan also made a surprise announcement, revealing that he will not be running for reelection. According to La Mesa Today, Councilwoman Ruth Sterling and Councilman Ernest Ewin confirmed that both will seek reelection. Other candidates who have declared intents to run for Council seats include parking commission member Jim Wiebolt, realtor Laura Lothian, and chef/restaurateer Patrick Dean.