By Lynne Bronstein
Observer Reporter 

Council Approves Predictable Budget


Council Approves Predictable Budget

The Drama of Recent Years Is Missing

The 2013-2014 Culver City budget was adopted Monday night but compared to the drama of recent years, when the Council had to approve major cuts and layoffs, the budget came and went without much fuss at all.

Chief of Finance Jeff Muir said in his opening statement that there was “nothing significant about the report.” He noted that the budget had been presented on May 13, while June 3 and 4 had seen presentations by the various city departments. Since then there have been a few “minor adjustments.”

These adjustments are enumerated in a series of appendices attached to the budget documents. The regular budget and budgets for the Housing Authority, Parking Authority, and Successor Agency each have their adjustments listed.

For example, under the main budget resolution, it is stated that the capital improvement budget (CIB) is modified to accommodate the release of appropriations from certain projects to CIB fund balances, with the amounts to be determined with the closing of the city’s books for 2013-2014.

The proposed General Fund appropriation for 2013-2014 had been $91,192,498. After corrections, salary adjustments, and reallocations, the total General Fund appropriation is $91,174,774.

With corrections and revenues from all funds included, the revised total budget for 2013-2014 is $174, 420,726.

Meghan Sahli-Wells had the appendices on her mind as she asked Muir about their specifics. While she expressed gratitude that “we are keeping our general reserve fund” and that the city had done a good job during the “rough bunch of years” just passed, she was concerned that there was not enough information about details of the budget and there had not been enough discussion of these details, especially with the public. She proposed that the city hold workshops on the budget for next year.

Jim Clarke joined in to wonder if there could be more of a connection between what the city promises to do and what is being done.

“If we have workshops next year we can look at programs, what our goals are-what it costs to do what we want to do,” said Clarke.

Muir admitted there had been some discussions about the fulfilling of financial goals a few years ago when Mark Scott was City Manager. Both Andrew Weissman and Mehaul O’ Leary remembered those sessions.

Weissman recalled that the discussions had involved “a lot of city employees and very limited participation from the general public.” Those who were really interested would involve themselves, he concluded.

Muir said that mounting a major series of discussions of budget details and goals would require participation by each department and would need a lot of “dedication and resources.” However, he promised that there will be a series of workshops, possibly this fall, allowing the community to discuss whether the city has accomplished its financing goals.

City Commends Man who Helped Catch Criminal Suspect

By Lynne Bronstein

Observer Reporter

Matt Cordova, who works at Pitfire Pizza in Culver City, knows it helps to remember what you look at. His strong memory of the face and physical characteristics seen on a “Wanted” poster helped Culver City police apprehend a man known as “The Beach Cruiser Bandit.”

Cordova was honored by the city of Culver City June 10, with the City Council commending him for his alertness in notifying police when he saw the suspect in the parking lot of Pitfire Pizza.

As Cordova told it, he and his girl friend had gone to Venice Beach one afternoon in April. When they went into a mini-mart on the Ocean Front so his girl friend could buy a health food bar, Cordova passed the time by looking at a “Wanted” poster on the wall.

“I remember I thought it was crazy that they had not caught the man yet. He looked like Woody Allen and also like [a friend of my dad’s]. I kept looking at it. We left after my girl friend got her health bar.

“At 6 p.m. I went to work at Pitfire Pizza here in Culver City. My girl friend-she couldn’t get enough of me I guess-she came by around 8 p.m. At 9 we were leaving. I went out to the parking lot-there was this guy who came in on a bike. He asked if he could still get a pizza.

“I realized it was the robber. He had a tattoo of a snake. All I could say to him was ‘So?’ He went inside and I told my girl friend it was the robber. I called the police and they came in about 25 seconds. And they apprehended him.”

Cordova was given not only a certificate by the City Council but an official Culver City police cap by the Culver City Police Department.

“We’re proud of you,” said Mayor Jeff Cooper. “The whole city is proud of what you did. Every day you see those posters-at the post office-but you get to take them for granted. It pays to look.

“Thank you for your vigilance and quick thinking. Because of your efforts, Culver City is a super place.”


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