The Community’s Budget

The Community’s Budget


The election has just barely passed, and already the city is in budget mode, with the 2012-2013 fiscal year beginning on July 1st.

Next Monday and Tuesday (June 4th & 5th), Council will hold a “Budget Study Session.” I encourage everyone to come and comment. This is our budget. It’s much more than numbers on a page – it’s a statement of our values and priorities. It represents our services, our staff, our streets; it determines the value of our homes, the strength of our businesses, and our quality of life. It might look daunting and dry, but it’s the key to Culver City.

Here’s the program (agenda item J-1):

Budget Study Session – City Manager’s Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2012-2013:  Presentation of the Results of a Ballot Measure Feasibility Study and Presentation of the Proposed Budgets for the City Council, City Manager’s Office, City Clerk’s Office, City Attorney’s Office, Information Technology Department, Human Resources Department, Finance Department, Transportation Department and  Parks, Recreation & Community Services Department, Fire Department, Police Department, Community Development [including the Parking Authority, Housing Authority and Successor Agency], and Public Works Department [including Capital Improvement Projects] (Note, the Fire Department, Police Department,  Community Development [including the Parking Authority, Housing Authority and Successor Agency], and Public Works Department [including Capital Improvement Projects] are Scheduled for June 5, 2012.)

In other words, the proposed budget will be presented, as will a study to see whether voters would be willing to accept a sales tax increase to save city services, and department heads will each present their budgets.


Volume I of the budget is 454 pages long – volume II, the Capital Improvement Plan, is 142 pages. Few residents in Culver City will go through every page, but there are certainly ways to get a better handle on our budget without spending a long, hard weekend buried in numbers (which is what I’ve been doing and will continue to do – no complaints! – I signed up for it).

For a quick primer on our city’s finances, look at Chief Financial Officer Jeff Muir’s PowerPoint presentation (presented to the Council on May 7). It explains the basics: how much property tax goes to Culver City? (answer: 10.5% – most cities get double) –  how much money will the city likely bring in next fiscal year? (answer: $179M) – how much will it spend? (answer: $186.3M) – the last page of the presentation is a sobering 5-year forecast in which the structural deficit hovers between $7 – $8.5M while reserves dwindle… which is why the City Manager is studying whether Culver City voters would be likely to approve a tax increase measure.

Download the presentation here (PDF file): ProposedBudgetPresentation12-13.

For a thorough overview of the budget in just 17 pages, read the City Manager’s Budget Message [download PDF Budget Message-1213] . It’s in the very beginning of the document and gives solid numbers, context, and analysis, underlining the measures that have been taken to reduce the city’s spending – and those proposed in this budget = a 17.4% decrease in spending overall.

Download the entire budget here (PDF file):



The Council will vote on the budget later this month (probably on June 11th). I hope to create more opportunities for public input in the budget process by proposing a permanent Public Finance Advisory Committee (like the one that existed in the late 1980’s), and by offering budget workshops throughout the city. Interested? Let me and the rest of the Council know.

Budget Study Sessions:

June 4th, 7pm

June 5th, 6:30pm

Council Chambers, City Hall 9770 Culver Blvd. Culver City


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