June 25, 2015
Neil Rubenstein, I am happy to see your interest in the city’s finances. Without its finances in order, a city quickly deteriorates and is forced to limit the services it provides to its businesses and residents.
I am not sure what report you refer to that lists Culver City as being among the lower 15% in financial health among cities in California; however, as chair of the city’s Finance Advisory Committee, I can say confidently that that is not correct and that the city currently has a healthy reserve fund. In fact, is projected to have a balanced budget for the next five years which means that our city is definitely not among the more financially challenged cities in California.
Of course, the challenge Culver City, and for that matter all California cities, has is the long-term increase in retiree benefit costs and the newly mandated urban runoff clean up. The full effect of these costs will start making itself felt in a couple of years, so we need to start develop forward-looking financial plans to address those issues today.
Those plans should include cost reviews and revenue enhancements. Another key component in this long-term discussion should be the sunset in April 2023 of proposition Y, the local half-cent sales tax increase, which is estimated to generate some $11 million that year (10% of total general fund revenue).
Over the past few years, the city’s finance department has, with input from the Financial Advisory Committee, posted several years of searchable financial data including the current year online. You can find this information on the city’s web page under Government, Finance. In the left column, look under “Open Data Portal” and “Budget Transparency Tool.”
I hope you will continue to keep a close eye on the city’s finances and I look forward to working with you and everyone in the city to make sure we do our best to keep Culver City on firm financial footing both now and in the future.
Culver City Financial Advisory Committee